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BY   "BOZ" 



NEW    YORK:    416   BROOME    STREET 



Price  2s.  each,  boards. 

The  Greatest  Plague  of  Life;  or,  The 
Adventures  of  a  Lady  in  Search  of  a  Good 
Servant.  Edited  by  the  BROTHERS  MAYHEW- 
With  Illustrations  by  GEOBOB  CRUIKSHANK. 

Whom  to  Marry  and  How  to  Get 
Married ;  or,  The  Adventures  of  a  Lady  in 
Search  of  a  Good  Husband.  Edited  by  the 
UROTHEES  MAYHEW,  and  Illustrated  by  GEOBGB 

Mornings  at  Bow  Street.  With  Steel 
Frontispiece  and  21  Illustrations  by  GEOBGB 

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^.  3 


IT  is  some  years  now,  since  we  first  conceived  a  strong  vene- 
ration for  Clowns,  and  an  intense  anxiety  to  know  what  they 
did  with  themselves  out  of  pantomime  time,  and  off  the  stage. 
As  a  child,  we  were  accustomed  to  pester  our  relations  and 
friends  with  questions  out  of  number  concerning  these  gentry; 
— whether  their  appetite  for  sausages  and  such  like  wares  was 
always  the  same,  and  if  so,  at  whose  expense  they  were  main- 
tained; whether  they  were  ever  taken  up  for  pilfering  other 
people's  goods,  or  were  forgiven  by  everybody  because  it  was 
only  done  in  fun ;  how  it  was  they  got  such  beautiful  com- 
plexions, and  where  they  lived;  and  whether  they  were  born 
Clowns,  or  gradually  turned  into  Clowns  as  they  grew  up.  On 
these  and  a  thousand  other  points  our  curiosity  was  insatiable. 
Nor  were  our  speculations  confined  to  Clowns  alone :  they  ex- 
tended to  Harlequins,  Pantaloons,  and  Columbines,  all  of  whom 
we  believed  to  be  real  and  veritable  personages,  existing  in  the 
same  forms  and  characters  all  the  year  round.  How  often  have 
we  wished  that  the  Pantaloon  were  our  god-father !  and  how 
often  thought  that  to  marry  a  Columbine  would  be  to  attain  the 
highest  pitch  of  all  human  felicity ! 

The  delights — the  ten  thousand  million  delights  of  a  panto- 
mime— come  streaming  upon  us  now, — even  of  the  pantomime 
which  came  lumbering  down  in  Richardson's  waggons  at  fair- 
time  to  the  dull  little  town  in  which  we  had  the  honour  to  be 
brought  up,  and  which  a  long  row  of  small  boys,  with  frills  as 


white  as  they  could  be  washed,  and  hands  as  clean  as  they  would 
come,  were  taken  to  behold  the  glories  of,  in  fair  daylight. 

"We  feel  again  all  the  pride  of  standing  in  a  body  on  the  plat- 
form, the  observed  of  all  observers  in  the  crowd  below,  while 
the  junior  usher  pays  away  twenty-four  ninepences  to  a  stout 
gentleman  under  a  Gothic  arch,  with  a  hoop  of  variegated  lamps 
swinging  over  his  head.  Again  we  catch  a  glimpse  (too  brief, 
alas !)  of  the  lady  with  a  green  parasol  in  her  hand,  on  the  out- 
side stage  of  the  next  show  but  one,  who  supports  herself  on 
one  foot,  on  the  back  of  a  majestic  horse,  blotting-paper  co- 
loured and  white;  and  once  again  our  eyes  open  wide  with 
wonder,  and  our  hearts  throb  with  emotion,  as  we  deliver  our 
card-board  check  into  the  very  hands  of  the  Harlequin  himself, 
who,  all  glittering  with  spangles,  and  dazzling  with  many 
colours,  deigns  to  give  us  a  word  of  encouragement  and  com- 
mendation as  we  pass  into  the  booth ! 

But  what  was  this — even  this — to  the  glories  of  the  inside, 
where,  amid  the  smell  of  saw-dust,  and  orange-peel,  sweeter  far 
than  violets  to  youthful  noses,  the  first  play  being  over,  the 
lovers  united,  the  ghost  appeased,  the  baron  killed,  and  every- 
thing made  comfortable  and  pleasant, — the  pantomime  itself 
began!  "What  words  can  describe  the  deep  gloom  of  the 
opening  scene,  where  a  crafty  magician  holding  a  young  lady 
in  bondage  was  discovered,  studying  an  enchanted  book  to  the 
soft  music  of  a  gong ! — or  in  what  terms  can  we  express  the 
thrill  of  ecstasy  with  which,  his  magic  power  opposed  by  su- 
perior art,  we  beheld  the  monster  himself  converted  into  Clown ! 
"What  mattered  it  that  the  stage  was  three  yards  wide,  and  four 
deep?  we  never  saw  it.  "We  had  no  eyes,  ears,  or  corporeal 
senses,  but  for  the  pantomime.  And  when  its  short  career  was 
r-jn,  and  the  baron  previously  slaughtered,  coming  forward 
with  hia  hand  upon  his  heart,  announced  that  for  that  favour 
Mr.  Richardson  returned  his  most  sincere  thanks,  and  the  per- 
io/jnaiicea  would  commence  again  in  a  quarter  of  an  hour,  what 


jest  could  equal  the  effects  of  tlie  Baron's  indignation  and  sur- 
prise, when  the  Clown,  unexpectedly  peeping  from  behind  the 
curtain,  requested  the  audience  "  not  to  believe  it,  for  it  was  all 
gammon!"  Who  but  a  Clown  could  have  called  forth  the  roar 
of  laughter  that  succeeded;  and  what  witchery  but  a  Clown's 
could  have  caused  the  junior  usher  himself  to  declare  aloud,  as 
he  shook  his  sides  and  smote  his  knee  in  a  moment  of  irrepres- 
sible joy,  that  that  was  the  very  best  thing  he  had  ever  heard 

"We  have  lost  that  clown  now ; — he  is  still  alive,  though,  for 
•we  saw  him  only  the  day  before  last  Bartholomew  Fair,  eating 
a  real  saveloy,  and  we  are  sorry  to  say  he  had  deserted  to  the 
illegitimate  drama,  for  he  was  seated  on  one  of  "  Clark's  Circus'* 
waggons: — we  have  lost  that  Clown  and  that  pantomime,  but 
our  relish  for  the  entertainment  still  remains  unimpaired.  Each 
successive  Boxing-day  finds  us  in  the  same  state  of  high  excite- 
ment and  expectation.  On  that  eventful  day,  when  new  panto- 
mimes are  played  for  the  first  time  at  the  two  great  theatres, 
and  at  twenty  or  thirty  of  the  little  ones,  we  still  gloat  as 
formerly  upon  the  bills  which  set  forth  tempting  descriptions  of 
the  scenery  in  staring  red  and  black  letters,  and  still  fall  down 
upon  our  knees,  with  other  men  and  boys,  upon  the  pavement 
by  shop-doors,  to  read  them  down  to  the  very  last  line.  J^ay. 
we  still  peruse  with  all  eagerness  and  avidity  the  exclusive 
accounts  of  the  coming  wonders  in  the  theatrical  newspapers  of 
the  Sunday  before,  and  still  believe  them  as  devoutly  as  we  did 
before  twenty  years'  experience  had  shown  us  that  they  are 
always  wrong. 

With  these  feelings  upon  the  subject  of  pantomimes,  it  is  no 
matter  of  surprise  that  when  we  first  heard  that  Grimaldi  had 
left  some  memoirs  of  his  life  behind  him,  we  were  in  a  perfect 
fever  until  we  had  pemsed  the  manuscript.  It  was  no  sooner 
placed  in  our  hands  by  "  the  adventurous  and  spirited  pub- 
lisher,"— (if  our  recollection  serve  us,  this  is  the  customary  stylo 


of  the  complimentary  little  paragraphs  regarding  new  books 
which  usually  precede  advertisements  about  Savory's  clocks  in 
the  newspapers,) — than  we  sat  down  at  once  and  read  it  everf 

See  how  pleasantly  things  come  about,  if  you  let  them  take 
their  own  course !  This  mention  of  the  manuscript  brings  us 
at  once  to  the  very  point  we  are  anxious  to  reach,  and  which  we 
should  have  gained  long  ago,  if  we  had  not  travelled  into  those 
Irrelevant  remarks  concerning  pantomimic  representations. 

For  about  a  year  before  his  death,  Grimaldi  was  employed  in 
writing  a  full  account  of  his  life  and  adventures.  It  was  his 
chief  occupation  and  amusement;  and  as  people  who  write  their 
own  lives,  even  in  the  midst  of  very  many  occupations,  often 
find  time  to  extend  them  to  a  most  inordinate  length,  it  is  no 
wonder  that  his  account  of  himself  was  exceedingly  voluminous. 

This  manuscript  was  confided  to  Mr.  Thomas  Egerton  Wilks : 
to  alter  and  revise,  with  a  view  to  its  publication.  Mr.  Wilks, 
who  was  well  acquainted  with  Grimaldi  and  his  connexions, 
applied  himself  to  the  task  of  condensing  it  throughout,  and 
wholly  expunging  considerable  portions,  which,  so  far  as  the 
public  were  concerned,  possessed  neither  interest  nor  amusement, 
he  likewise  interspersed  here  and  there  the  substance  of  such 
personal  anecdotes  as  he  had  gleaned  from  the  writer  in  desultory 
conversation.  While  he  was  thus  engaged,  Grimaldi  died. 

Mr.  Wilks  having  by  the  commencement  of  September  con- 
cluded his  labours,  offered  the  manuscript  to  the  present  pub- 
lisher, by  whom  it  was  shortly  afterwards  purchased  uncondi- 
tionally, with  the  full  consent  and  concurrence  of  Mr.  Eichard 
Hughes,  Grimaldi's  executor. 

The  present  Editor  of  these  Memoirs  has  felt  it  necessary  to 
say  thus  much  in  explanation  of  their  origin,  in  order  to  es- 
tablish beyond  doubt  the  unquestionable  authenticity  of  the 
memoirs  they  contain. 

His  ovrn  share  in  them  is  stated  in  a  few  words.   Being  much 


struck  by  several  incidents  in  the  manuscript — such  as  the  de- 
scription of  Gximaldi's  infancy,  the  burglary,  the  brother's 
return  from  sea  under  the  extraordinary  circumstances  detailed, 
the  adventure  of  the  man  with  the  two  fingers  on  his  left  hand, 
the  account  of  Mackintosh  and  his  friends,  and  many  other 
passages, — and  thinking  that  they  might  be  related  in  a  more 
attractive  manner,  (they  were  at  that  time  told  in  the  first 
person,  as  if  by  Grimaldi  himself,  although  they  had  necessarily 
lost  any  original  manner  which  his  recital  might  have  imparted 
to  them ;)  he  accepted  a  proposal  from  the  publisher  to  edit  the 
book,  and  has  edited  it  to  the  best  of  his  ability,  altering  its 
form  throughout,  and  making  such  other  alterations  as  he  con- 
ceived would  improve  the  narration  of  the  facts,  without  any 
departure  from  the  facts  themselves. 

He  has  merely  to  add,  that  there  has  been  no  book-making  in 
this  case.  He  has  not  swelled  the  quantity  of  matter,  but 
materially  abridged  it.  The  account  of  Grimaldi's  first  courtship 
may  appear  lengthy  in  its  present  form;  but  it  has  undergoiio 
a  double  and  most  comprehensive  process  of  abridgment.  The 
old  man  was  garrulous  upon  a  subject  on  which  the  youth  had 
felt  so  keenly;  and  as  the  feeling  did  him  honour  in  both  stages 
of  life,  the  Editor  has  not  had  the  heart  to  reduce  it  further. 

Here  is  the  book,  then,  at  last.  After  so  much  pains  from  so 
many  hands — including  the  good  right  hand  of  G-EORGE  CRUIK- 
SHANK,  which  has  seldom  been  better  exercised, — he  humbly 
hopes  it  may  find  favour  with  the  public. 

Frbntaiy,  1S38. 


introductory  Chapter       page  v 


His  Grandfather  and  Father — His  Birth  and  first  appearance  at 
Drury  Lane  Theatre  and  at  Sadler's  Wells — His  Father's  severity 
— Miss  Farren — The  Earl  of  Derby  and  the  Wig — the  Fortune-box 
and  Charity's  reward — His  Father's  pretended  Death,  and  the  beha- 
viour of  himself  and  his  brother  thereupon 1 


1788  to  1794. 

The  Father's  real  Death — His  Will,  and  failure  of  the  Executor 
—  Generous  conduct  of  Grimaldi's  Schoolmaster,  and  of  Mr. 
Wroughton  the  Comedian — Smart  running  against  time — Kind- 
ness of  Sheridan — Grimaldi's  industry  and  amusements  —  Fly~ 
catching — Expedition  in  search  of  the  "  Dartford  Blues  "—Mrs. 
Jordan — Adventure  on  Clapham  Common  :  the  piece  of  Tin — His 
first  Lve  and  its  consequences 17 


1794  to  1797. 

Grimaldi  falls  in  Love — His  success — He  meets  with  an  accident 
which  brings  the  Reader  acquainted  with  that  invaluable  specific 
"Grimaldi's  Embrocation" — He  rises  gradually  in  his  Profession — 
The  Pentonville  Gang  of  Burglars ,  .  28 


1797  to  1798. 

The  Thieves  make  a  second  attempt ;  alarmed  by  their  perse- 
verance, Grimaldi  repairs  to  Hatton  Garden — Interview  with  Mr. 
Trott  ;  ingenious  device  of  that  gentleman,  and  its  result  on  the 
fchird  visit  of  the  Burglars — Comparative  attractions  of  Pantomime 


and  Spectacle — Trip  to  Gravesend  and  Chatham  —  Disagreeable 
recognition  of  a  good-humoured  friend,  and  an  agreeable  mode  of 
journeying  recommended  to  all  Travellers 40 



An  extraordinary  circumstance  concerning  himself,  with  another 
extraordinary  circumstance  concerning  his  Grandfather — Specimen 
of  a  laconic  epistle,  and  an  account  of  two  interviews  with  Mr. 
Hughes,  in  the  latter  of  which  a  benevolent  gentleman  is  duly  re- 
warded for  his  trouble — Preparations  for  his  marriage — Fatiguing 
effects  of  his  exertions  at  the  Theatre 51 



Tribulations  connected  with  "  Old  Lucas,"  the  constable,  with  an 
account  of  the  subsequent  proceedings  before  Mr.  Blamire,  the 
magistrate,  at  Hatton  Garden,  and  the  mysterious  appearance  of  a 
silver  staff — A  guinea  wager  with  a  jocose  friend  on  the  Dartford 
Road— The  Prince  of  Wales,  Sheridan,  and  the  Crockery  Girl  .  62 


1798  to  1801. 

Partiality  of  George  the  Third  for  Theatrical  Entertainments — 
Sheridan's  kindness  to  Grimaldi — His  domestic  affliction  and  severe 
distress — The  production  of  Harlequin  Amulet  a  new  era  in  Panto- 
mime— Pigeon-fancying  and  Wagering — His  first  Provincial  Excur- 
sion with  Mrs.  Baker,  the  eccentric  Manageress — John  Kemble  and 
Jew  Davis,  with  a  new  reading — Increased  success  at  Maidstone  and 
Canterbury — Polite  interview  with  John  Kemble  ;  ....  76 


1801  to  1803. 

Hard  work  to  counterbalance  great  gains — Hits  (lisscnaige  from 

Drury  Lane,  and  his  discharge  at  Sadler's  Wells His  return  to  the 

former  house— Monk  Lewis — Anecdote  of  him  and  Sheridan,  and  of 
Sheridan  and  the  Prince  of  Wales — Grimaldi  gains  a  son  and  loses 
all  his  capital gg 




Containing  a  very  extraordinary  incident  well  worthy  of  the 
reader's  attention 97 


1803  to  1805. 

Bologna  and  his  Family — An  Excursion  into  Kent  with  that  per- 
sonage—Mr. Mackintosh,  the  gentleman  of  landed  property,  and  his 
preserves — A  great  day's  sporting ;  and  a  scene  at  the  Garrick's 
Head  in  Bow  Street,  between  a  Landlord,  a  Gamekeeper,  Bologna 
and  Grimaldi 106 


1805  to  1806. 

Stage  Affairs  and  Stage  Quarrels — Mr.  Graham,  the  Bow  Street 
Magistrate  and  Drury  Lane  Manager — Mr.  Peake  —  Grimaldi  is 
introduced  to  Mr.  Harris  by  John  Kemble — Leaves  Drury  Lane 
Theatre  and  engages  at  Covent  Garden — Mortification  of  the  autho- 
rities at  "the  other  house" — He  joins  Charles  Dibdin's  Company 
and  visits  Dublin — The  wet  Theatre — III  success  of  the  speculation, 
and  great  success  of  his  own  Benefit — Observations  on  the  com- 
parative strength  of  Whisky  Punch  and  Rum  Punch,  with  interest- 
ing experiment 115 


1806  to  1807. 

He  returns  to  town,  gets  frozen  to  the  roof  of  a  coach  on  the  road, 
and  pays  his  rent  twice  over  when  he  arrives  at  home — Mr.  Charles 
Farley— His  first  appearance  at  Covent  Garden — Valentine  and 
Orson— Production  of  "Mother  Goose,"  and  its  immense  success — 
The  mysterious  adventure  of  the  Six  Ladies  and  the  Six  Gentle- 
men   124 



The  mystery  cleared  up  chiefly  through  the  instrumentality  of  Mr. 
Alderman  Harmer ;  and  the  characters  of  the  Six  Ladies  and  the 
Six  Gentlemen  are  satisfactorily  explained — The  Trial  of  Mackin- 
tosh for  Burglary — Its  result  •  •  «  • 133 



1807  to  1808. 

Bradbury,  the  Clown — His  voluntary  confinement  in  a  Madhouse, 
to  screen  an  "Honourable"  Thief — His  release,  strange  conduct, 
subsequent  career,  and  death — Dreadful  Accident  at  Sadler's  Wells 
—The  night-drives  to  Finchley — Trip  to  Birmingham — Mr.  Mac- 
ready,  the  Manager  and  his  curious  Stage-properties — Sudden  recal 
to  Town 148 


1808  to  1809. 

Covent  Garden  Theatre  destroyed  by  fire — Grimaldi  makes  a  trip 
to  Manchester :  he  meets  with  an  accident  there,  and  another  at 
Liverpool— The  Sir  Hugh  Myddleton  Tavern  at  Sadler's  Wells,  and 
a  description  of  some  of  its  frequenters,  necessary  to  a  full  under- 
standing of  the  succeeding  chapter 158 


Grimaldi 'a  Adventure  on  flighgate  Hill,  and  its  consequences .     1G5 


1809  to  1812. 

Opening  of  the  new  Covent  Garden  Theatre — The  great  0.  P. 
Rows — Grimaldi's  first  appearance  as  Clown  in  the  public  streets 
— Temporary  embarrassments — Great  success  at  Cheltenham  and 
Gloucester — He  visits  Berkeley  Castle,  and  is  introduced  to  Lord 
Byron — Fish  sauce  and  Apple  Pie 172 


1812  to  1816. 

A  Clergyman's  Dinner-party  at  Bath — First  Appearance  of  Gri- 
maldi's Son,  and  Death  of  his  old  friend  Mr.  Hughes— Grimaldi 
plays  at  three  Theatres  on  one  night,  and  has  his  salary  stopped  for 
his  pains— His  severe  illness— Second  journey  to  Bath — Davidge, 
"Billy  Coombes"  and  the  Chest — Facetiousness  of  the  aforesaid 
Billy 183 



1816  to  1817. 

He  quits  Sadler's  "VVells  in  consequence  of  a  disagreement  with 
the  Proprietors — Lord  Byron — Retirement  of  John  Kemble — Im- 
mense success  of  Grimaldi  in  the  provinces,  and  his  great  gains — A 
scene  in  a  Barber's  Shop 194 



More  provincial  success — Bologna  and  his  economy — Comparative 
clearness  of  Welsh  Rare-bits  and  Partridges — Remarkably  odd  modes 
of  saving  money 203 


1817  to  1818. 

Production  of  "Baron  Munchausen" — Anecdote  of  Eliar  the  Har- 
lequin, showing  how  he  jumped  through  the  Moon  and  put  his  hand 
out — Grimaldi  becomes  a  Proprietor  of  Sadler's  Wells — Anecdotes 
of  the  late  Duke  of  York,  Sir  Godfrey  Webster,  a  Gold  Snuff  box, 
his  late  Majesty,  Newcastle  Salmon,  and  a  Coal  Mine  .  .  .  209 


1818  to  1823. 

Proht  and  Loss — Appearance  of  his  Son  at  Covent  Garden — His 
last  engagement  at  Sadler's  Wells — Accommodation  of  the  Giants  in 
the  Dublin  Pavilion — Alarming  state  of  his  health — His  engagement 
at  the  Cobui-g — The  liberality  of  Mr.  Harris — Rapid  decay  of  Gri- 
:naldi's  constitution,  his  great  sufferings,  and  last  performance  at 
Oovent  Garden — He  visits  Cheltenham  and  Birmingham  with  great 
luccess — Colonel  Berkeley,  Mr.  Charles  Kemble,  and  Mr.  Buna  218 


1823  to  1827. 

Grimaldi's  great  afflictions  augmented  by  the  dissipation  and 
recklessness  of  his  Son — Compelled  to  retire  from  Covent  Garden 
Theatre,  where  he  is  succeeded  by  him — New  Speculation  at  Sadler's 
\7ells — Changes  in  the  system  of  Management,  and  their  results — 
—  -Sir  James  Scarlett  and  a  blushing  Witness 22 




Great  kindness  of  Miss  Kelly  towards  Grimaldi — His  farewell 
benefit  at  Sadler's  Wells  ;  last  appearance,  and  farewell  address — 
He  makes  preparations  for  one  more  appearance  at  Covent  GardeM, 
but,  in  a  conversation  with  Mr.  Charles  Kemble,  meets  with  a  dis- 
appointment— In  consequence  of  Lord  Segrave's  benevolent  inter- 
ference, a  benefit  is  arranged  for  him  at  Drury  Lane— His  last  inter- 
view with  Mr.  Charles  Kemble  and  Fawcett 236 

1828  to  1836. 

The  farewell  benefit  at  Dmry  Lane — Grimaldi's  last  appearance 
and  parting  address — The  Drury  Lane  Theatrical  Fund,  and  its 
prompt  reply  to  his  communication — Miserable  career  and  death 
of  his  Son — His  Wife  dies,  and  he  returns  from  Woolwich  (whither 
he  had  previously  removed)  to  London — His  retirement  .  .  244 

Conclusion , 253 





LLis  Grandfather  and  Father— His  Birth  and  first  appearance  at  Drury  Lana 
Theatre,  and  at  Sadler's  Wells— His  Father's  severity— Miss  Farren— The 
Earl  of  Derby  and  the  Wig — The  Fortune-box  and  Charity's  reward — His 
Father's  pretended  death,  and  the  behaviour  of  himself  and  his  brother 

THE  paternal  grandfather  of  Joseph  Grimaldi  was  well  known, 
both  to  the  French  and  Italian  public,  as  an  eminent  dancer, 
possessing  a  most  extraordinary  degree  of  strength  and  agility, 
— qualities  which,  being  brought  into  full  play  by  the  constant 
exercise  of  his  frame  in  his  professional  duties,  acquired  for  him 
the  distinguishing  appellation  of  "Iron  Legs."  JDibdin,  in  his 
History  of  the  Stage,  relates  several  anecdotes  of  his  prowess  in 
these  respects,  many  of  which  are  current  elsewhere,  though 
the  authority  on  which  they  rest  would  appear  from  his  grand- 
son's testimony  to  be  somewhat  doubtful ;  the  best  known  of 
these,  however,  is  perfectly  true.  Jumping  extremely  high  one 
night  in  some  performance  on  the  stage,  possibly  in  a  fit  of  en- 
thusiasm occasioned  by  the  august  presence  of  the  Turkish 
Ambassador,  who,  witn  his  suite,  occupied  the  stage-box,  he 
actually  broke  one  of  the  chandeliers  which  in  those  times  hung 
above  the  stage  doors ;  and  one  of  the  glass  drops  was  struck 
with  some  violence  against  the  eye  or  countenance  of  the  Turkish 
Ambassador  aforesaid.  The  dignity  of  this  great  personage 
being  much  affronted,  a  formal  complaint  was  made  to  the 
Court  of  Erance,  who  gravely  commanded  "Iron  Legs"  to 
apologize,  which  "  Iron  Legs"  did  in  due  form,  to  the  great 
amusement  of  himself,  and  the  court,  and  the  public  ;  and,  in 
short,  of  everybody  else  but  the  exalted  gentleman  whose  person 



had  been  grievously  outraged.    The  mighty  affair  terminated 
in  the  appearance  of  a  squib,  which  has  been  thus  translated : — 

Hail,  Iron  Legs  !  immortal  pair, 

Agile,  firm  knit,  and  peerless, 
That  skim  the  earth,  or  vault  in  air, 

Aspiring  high  and  fearless. 
Glory  of  Paris  !  outdoing  compeers, 

Brave  pair !  may  nothing  hurt  ye ; 
Scatter  at  will  our  chandeliers, 

And  tweak  the  nose  of  Turkey. 
And  should  a  too  presumptuous  foe 

But  dare  these  shores  to  land  on, 
His  well-kicked  men  shall  quickly  know 

"We've  Iron  Legs  to  stand  on. 

This  circumstance  occurred  on  the  French  stage.  The  first 
Grimaldi*  who  appeared  in  England  was  the  father  of  the  sub- 

*  Giuseppe  Grimaldi  was  really  "  Iron  Legs ;"  of  the  grandfather  no  parti- 
culars are  known.  The  father  of  our  Joe  was  originally  a  pantomime  actor  at 
the  fairs  in  Italy  and  France,  at  the  time  these  fairs  supplied  the  French  Theatre 
with  some  of  the  finest  dancers  that  have  conferred  distinction  on  that  stage. 
His  first  employment  in  England  was  at  the  King's  Theatre  in  the  Haymarket, 
where  the  lighter  kind  of  ballet  proving  attractive,  similar  dances  were  intro- 
duced early  in  the  season  1758, 1759,  on  the  boards  of  Drury  Lane  and  Covent 
Garden  Theatres.  At  the  former,  under  Garrick's  management,  a  new  panto- 
mime dance,  entitled  "The  Millers,"  was  performed  for  the  first  time,  October 
12th,  1758 ;  in  which  Signor  Grimaldi,  it  was  announced,  made  his  first  appear- 
ance on  the  English  Stage.  A  writer  in  the  "London  Chronicle,"  in  rei'erence 
to  this  piece,  observes,  as  regards  the  debutant — "  Grimaldi  is  a  man  of  great 
strength  and  agility ;  he  indeed  treads  the  air.  If  he  has  any  fault,  he  is  rather 
too  comical ;  and  from  some  feats  of  his  performing,  which  I  have  been  a  witness 
to,  at  the  King's  Theatre,  in  the  Haymarket,  those  spectators  will  see  him,  it  is 
my  opinion,  with  most  pleasure,  who  are  least  solicitous  whether  he  breaks  his 
neck,  or  not."  In  reference  to  the  dance  of  "The  Millers,"  composed  by 
Grimaldi,  then  deemed  an  innovation,  he  continues : — 

"  Some  people  hold  dancing  to  be  below  the  dignity  of  a  regular  theatre ;  but 
I  can  by  no  means  subscribe  to  their  opinion,  since  one  of  the  principal  ends 
of  every  theatre,  is  to  delight ;  and  everything  that  can  contribute  to  that 
purpose,  under  proper  restrictions,  has  an  undoubted  right  to  a  place  there.  I 
shall  not  affect  to  show  my  learning,  by  adding,  the  ancients  not  only  admitted 
dancing,  but  thought  it  a  necessary  ornament  in  the  performance  of  the  most 
celebrated  tragedies. 

"  The  French  in  this  kind  of  merit,  for  many  years  carried  all  before  them  ; 
but  of  late  the  Italians  seem  to  have  the  start  of  them ;  and  it  must  be  allowed, 
the  latter  are  much  better  actors,  which,  in  the  comic  dance  that  now  almost 
everywhere  prevails,  is  infinitely  more  requisite,  than  those  graceful  postures 
and  movements  on  which  the  French  dancers  for  the  most  part  pique  them- 
selves; but  in  this  case  a  vast  deal  depends  on  the  Maitre  de  Ballet;  and 
whoever  composed  '  The  Millers,'  has,  I  think,  shown  himself  a  man  of  genius  ; 
the  figure  of  the  contra-danse  being  pleasingly  intricate,  and  the  whole  admirably 
well  adapted  to  the  music.  I  cannot,  however,  help  observing,  he  has  been 
indebted  to  Don  Quixote ;  for  when  Signor  Grimaldi  comes  in  asleep  on  his  ass, 
it  is  stolen  from  under  him  in  the  same  manner  that  Gines  de  Passamont  robs 
poor  Sancho  of  his,  and  the  same  joy  is  testified  by  both  parties  in  the  re- 
covery of  the  beloved  brute." 

The  Drury  Lane  play-bill,  October  10,  1761,  announced  as  "not  acted  this 
season,"  a  Comedy  called  the  Confederacy;  Brass,  Mr.  King;  Flippanta,  Mrs. 
Clive.  At  the  end  of  Act  II.  an  entertainment  of  Dancing,  called  the  Italian 
Gardener,  by  Signor  Grimaldi,  Miss  Baker,  &c.  Garrick's  Pageant  of  the 
Coronation  concluded  the  night's  diversion. 

From  his  first  appearance  in  October,  1758,  Grimaldi  continued  at  Drury  Lane 


ject  of  these  Memoirs,  and  the  son  of  "  Iron  Legs,"  who,  holding 
the  appointment  of  Dentist  to  Queen  Charlotte,  came  to  England 
in  that  capacity  in  1760  ;  he  was  a  native  of  Genoa,  and  long 
before  his  arrival  in  this  country  had  attained  considerable 
distinction  in  his  profession.  We  have  not  many  instances  of 
the  union  of  the  two  professions  of  dentist  and  dancing-master ; 
but  Grimaldi,  possessing  a  taste  for  both  pursuits,  and  a  much 
higher  relish  for  the  latter  than  the  former,  obtained  leave  to 
resign  his  situation  about  the  Q,ueen,  soon  after  his  arrival  in 
this  country,  and  commenced  giving  lessons  in  dancing  and 

as  Maitre  de  Ballet,  Primo  Buffo,  Clown,  Pantaloon,  or  Cherokee,  or  any  part 
required  in  the  ballet,  till  his  death.  The  dancers,  it  would  appear,  were  not 
paid  during  the  whole  season,  but  for  certain  periods ;  in  the  interim  they  were 
employed,  under  certain  restrictions,  at  other  places  of  amusement.  Those 
belonging  to  Drury  Lane,  in  G-arrick's  time,  were  in  the  summer  months,  and 
from  Easter  to  Michaelmas  attached  to  Sadler's  Wells ;  and  in  the  bills  which 
announced  the  opening  of  that  suburban  theatre,  at  Easter,  1763  and  1764, 
Signor  Grimaldi  appears  as  Maitre  de  Ballet,  and  chief  dancer.  On  May  1,  in 
the  latter  year,  Grimaldi,  and  an  English  dancer  named  Aldridge,  of  considerable 
eminence  in  his  profession,  jointly  had  a  benefit;  Shakspeare's  "Tempest" 
was  performed,  as  also  the  pantomime  of  "  Fortunatus, '"  Harlequin  by  Signor 
Grimaldi.  In  the  September  of  the  same  year,  at  Sadler's  Wells,  the  Signo- 
had  another  benefit;  the  bill  of  the  evening  is  subjoined : 



On  Wednesday,  September  19, 1764,  will  be  exhibited  a  Variety  of  New 


Dancing  both  serious  and  comic,  viz.:— 1.  "  The  Miller's  Dance,"  by  Signor 

Duval,  Signor  Amoire,  Signora Mercueius,  Mrs,  Preston,  and  others. — 2.  "The 

Shoemakers,"  by  Signor  Grimaldi,  Signor  Amoire,  Miss  Wilkinson,  and  others. 

— 3.  "  The  Country  Wedding,"  by  Signor  Duval,  Signor  Amoire,  Signora  Mer- 

cucius,  Miss  Wilkinson,  and  Signor  Grimaldi,  and  others. 

And  by  particular  desire,  for  that  night  only, 

A  Double  Hornpipe  by  Master  Cape  and  Miss  Taylor. 

Tumbling  by  Mr.  Sturgess,  Signor  Pedro,  and  Mr.  Garman, 

Singing  by  Mr.  Prentice,  Mr.  Cooke,  and  Miss  Brown. 

With  a  variety  of  Curious  Performances  by 


The  Wire  by  Master  Wilkinson. 

The  Musical  Glasses  by  Miss  Wilkinson,  accompanied  by  Master  Wilkinson. 
The  whole  to  conclude  with  a  New  Entertainment  of  Music  and  Dancing,  called 


Harlequin    ....    Mr.  Banks. 

Don  Quixote,  Mr.  Niepekcr  SancLr,,  Mr.  Warner. 

Columbire    .    .     .      Miss  Wilkinson. 
The  Paintings,  Music,  and  Habits,  are  all  entirely  New. 

Pit  and  Boxes,  2s.  6d.  Gallery,  Is.  6d. 

To  begin  exactly  at  Six.]  [Vivant  Rex  et  Regina.] 

Tickets  and  Places  to  be  had  of  Signor  Grimaldi,  at  the  New  Tunbridge  Wells ; 

and  he  begs  the  favour  of  those  Ladies  and  Gentlemen,  who  have  already 

taken  Places,  to  send  their  servants  by  Half-an-Hour  after  Four  o'clock. 

At  Drury  Lane,  December  26,  in  the  sameyear,  was  performed  the  Tragedy 

«f  "  The  Eari  of  Essex •"  at  the  end  of  Act  IV.  a  Dance  called  "The  Irish  Lilt/' 

B  2 


fencing,  occasionally  giving  his  pupils  a  taste  of  his  quality  in 
his  old  capacity.  In  those  days  of  minuets  and  cotillions,  private 
dancing  was  a  much  more  laborious  and  serious  affair  than  it  is 
at  present ;  and  the  younger  branches  of  the  nobility  and  gentry- 
kept  Mr.  Grimaldi  in  pretty  constant  occupation.  In  many 
scattered  notices  of  OUR  Grimaldi's  life,  it  has  been  stated  that 
the  father  lost  his  situation  at  court  in  consequence  of  the  rude- 
ness of  his  behaviour,  and  some  disrespect  which  he  had  shown 
the  King  ;  an  accusation  which  his  son  always  took  very  much  to 
heart,  and  which  the  continual  patronage  of  the  King  and 
Queen,  bestowed  upon  him  publicly,  on  all  possible  occasions, 
sufficiently  proves  to  be  unfounded. 

His  new  career  being  highly  successful,  Mr.  Grimaldi  was 
appointed  ballet-master  of  old  Drury  Lane  Theatre  and  Sadler's 
Wells,  with  which  he  coupled  the  situation  of  primo  buffo  ;  in 
this  double  capacity  he  became  a  very  great  favourite  with  the 
public,  and  their  majesties,  who  were  nearly  every  week  accus- 
tomed to  command  some  pantomime  of  which  Grimaldi  was  the 
hero.  He  bore  the  reputation  of  being  a  very  honest  man,  and 
a  very  charitable  one,  never  turning  a  deaf  ear  to  the  entreaties 
of  the  distressed,  but  always  willing,  by  every  means  in  his 
power,  to  relieve  the  numerous  reduced  and  wretched  persons 
irho  applied  to  him  for  assistance.  It  may  be  added — and  his 
«on  always  mentioned  it  with  just  pride-^-that  he  was  never 
known  to  be  inebriated :  a  rather  scarce  virtue  among  players 
of  later  times,  and  one  which  men  of  far  higher  rank  in  their 
profession  would  do  well  to  profit  by. 

He  appears  to  have  been  a  very  singular  and  eccentric  man. 
It  would  be  difficult  to  account  for  the  little  traits  of  his  cha- 
racter which  are  developed  in  the  earlier  pages  of  this  book, 
unless  this  circumstance  were  borne  in  mind.  He  purchased 
a  small  quantity  of  ground  at  Lambeth  once,  part  of  which 
was  laid  out  as  a  garden ;  he  entered  into  possession  of  it  in 
the  very  depth  of  a  most  inclement  winter,  but  he  was  so 
impatient  to  ascertain  how  this  garden  would  look  in  full  bloom, 
that,  finding  it  quite  impossible  to  wait  till  the  coming  of 
spring  and  summer  gradually  developed  its  beauties,  he  had 
it  at  once  decorated  with  an  immense  quantity  of  artificial 

by  Mr.  Aldridge,  Miss  Baker,  and  others.  After  which,  not  performed  these 
three  years,  an  Entertainment  in  Italian  Grotesque  Characters,  called  "  Queen 
Mab."  Harlequin,  by  Mr.  Hooker;  Pantaloon,  by  Signor  Grimaldi ;  Silvio,  by 
Mr.  Baddeley  ;  Puck,  Master  Cape ;  Queen  Mab,  by  Miss  Ford  :  Columbine,  by 
Miss  Baker.  The  facetious  Ned  Eooker,  principal  Harlequin  at  Drury  Lane, 
was  a  painter  of  great  excellence :  his  paintings  and  drawings  are  still  held  in 
high  repute,  and  Lis  theatrical  scenery  was  not  surpassed  in  his  time:  some  of  it 
was  in  use  till  recently  at  the  Haymarket  Theatre. 

Grimaldi  continued  at  Sadler's  Wells  till  the  close  of  the  season  of  1767,  and 
never  afterwards  was  employed  there.  Signor  Spinacuti  and  his  "funam- 
buhstical"  monkey,  so  took  the  town  by  surprise  in  1768,  that  dancinz  at  that 
theatre  was  altogether  thrown  into  the  back-Around. 


flowers,  and  tlie  branches  of  all  the  trees  bent  beneath  the  weight 
of  the  most  luxuriant  foliage,  and  the  most  abundant  crops  of 
fruit,  all,  it  is  needless  to  say,  artificial  also. 

A  singular  trait  in  this  individual's  character,  was  a  vague 
and  profound  dread  of  the  14th  day  of  the  month.  At  its  ap- 
proach he  was  always  nervous,  disquieted,  and  anxious •  directly 
it  had  passed  he  was  another  man  again,  and  invariably  ex- 
claimed, in  his  broken  English,  "  Ah !  now  I  am  safe  for  anoder 
month."  If  this  circumstance  were  unaccompanied  by  any 
singular  coincidence  it  would  be  scarcely  worth  mentioning; 
but  it  is  remarkable  that  he  actually  died  on  the  14th  day  of 
March ;  and  that  he  was  born,  christened,  and  married  on  the 
1 4th  of  the  month. 

There  are  other  anecdotes  of  the  same  kind  told  of  Henri 
Q,uatre,  and  others ;  this  one  is  undoubtedly  true,  and  it  may 
be  added  to  the  list  of  coincidences  or  presentiments,  or  by 
whatever  name  the  reader  pleases  to  call  them,  as  a  veracious 
and  well- authenticated  instance. 

These  are  not  the  only  odd  characteristics  of  the  man.  He 
was  a  most  morbidly  sensitive  and  melancholy  being,  and  enter- 
tained a  horror  of  death  almost  indescribable.  He  was  in  the 
habit  of  wandering  about  churchyards  and  burying-places,  for 
hours  together,  and  would  speculate  on  the  diseases  of  which 
the  persons  whose  remains  occupied  the  graves  he  walked 
among,  had  died;  figure  their  death-beds,  and  wonder  how 
many  of  them  had  been  buried  alive  in  a  fit  or  a  trance :  a  pos- 
sibility which  he  shuddered  to  think  of,  and  which  haunted  him 
both  through  life  and  at  its  close.  Such  an  effect  had  this  fear 
upon  his  mind,  that  he  left  express  directions  in  his  will  that, 
before  his  coffin  should  be  fastened  down,  his  head  should  be 
severed  from  his  body,  and  the  operation  was  actually  performed 
in  the  presence  of  several  persons. 

It  is  a  curious  circumstance,  that  death,  which  always  filled 
his  mind  with  the  most  gloomy  and  horrible  reflections,  and 
which  in  his  unoccupied  moments  can  hardly  be  said  to  have 
been  ever  absent  from  his  thoughts,  should  have  been  chosen  by 
him  as  the  subject  of  one  of  his  most  popular  scenes  in  the  pan- 
tomimes of  the  time.  Among  many  others  of  the  same  nature, 
he  invented  the  well-known  skeleton  scene  for  the  clown,  which 
was  very  popular  in  those  days,  and  is  still  occasionally  repre- 
sented. Whether  it  be  true,  that  the  hypochondriac  is  most 
prone  to  laugh  at  the  things  which  most  annoy  and  terrify  him 
in  private,  as  a  man  who  believes  in  the  appearance  of  spirits 
upon  earth  is  always  the  foremost  to  express  his  unbelief ;  or 
whether  these  gloomy  ideas  haunted  the  unfortunate  man's 
mind  so  much,  that  even  his  merriment  assumed  a  ghastly  hue, 
and  Ms  comicality  sought  for  grotesque  objects  in  the  grave  and 
the  charnel-house,  the  fact  is  equally  remarkable. 

This  was  the  same  man  who,  in  the  time  of  Lord  Greorge 
Gordon's  riots,  when  people,  for  the  purpose  of  protecting  their 


houses  from  the  fury  of  the  mob,  inscribed  upon  their  doors  the 
words  "  No  Popery,"— actually,  with  the  view  of  keeping  in  the 
right  with  all  plrtSs,  and  preventing  the  possioihty  ol  oftendmg 
any  by  his  form  of  worship,  wrote  up  "No  religion  at  all; 
which  announcement  appeared  in  large  characters  in  front  oi 
his  house,  in  Little  Russell-street.*  The  idea  was  perfectly 
successful;  but  whether  from  the  humour  of  the  description, 
or  because  the  rioters  did  not  happen  to  go  down  that  particular 
street,  we  are  unable  to  determine.  .  . 

On  the  18th  of  December,  1779,  the  year  in  which  Garrick 
died,  Joseph  Grimaldi,  "  Old  Joe,"  was  born,  in  Stanhope-street,  t 
Clare-market ;  a  part  of  the  town  then  as  now,  much  frequented 
bv  theatrical  people,  in  consequence  of  its  vicinity  to  tne 
theatres.  At  the  period  of  his  birth,  his  eccentric  lather  was 
sixty-five  years  old,  and  twenty-fi ve  months  afterwards  another 
son  was  born  to  him— Joseph's  only  brother.  , 

The  child  did  not  remain  very  long  in  a  state  of  helpless  and 
unprofitable  infancy,  for  at  the  age  of  one  year  and  eleven, 
months  he  was  brought  out  by  his  father  on  the  boards  of  Old 
Drury,  where  he  made  his  first  bow  and  his  first  tumble,  t  Ihe 

*  Henry  Angelo,  in  his  Keminiscences,  gives  a  different  version  of  this  story. 
"The father  of  Grimaldi,  for  many  years  the  favourite  clown,  was  my  dancing- 
master  when  I  was  a  boy,  and  encouraged  my  harlequin  and  monkey  tricks ;  he  re- 
lated the  anecdote  to  me,  himself,  and  I  am  therefore  justified  in  repeating  it.  At 
the  time  of  the  riots,  in  June,  1780,  he  resided  in  a  front  room,  on  the  second 
floor  in  Holborn,  on  the  same  side  of  the  way  near  to  Bed  Lion  Square,  when 
the  mob  passing  by  the  house,  and  Grimaldi  being  a  foreigner,  they  thought  he 
must  be  a  papist.  On  hearing  he  lived  there,  they  all  stopped,  and  there  was  a 
general  shouting  ;  a  cry  of  'No  Popery !'  was  raised,  and  they  were  about  to 
assail  the  house,  when  Grimaldi,  who  had  been  listening  all  the  time,  and  knew 
their  motives,  put  his  head  out  of  the  window  from  the  second  floor,  and  making 
comical  grimaces,  called  out,  '  Genteelrnen,  in  dis  hose  dere  be  no  religion  at  all.' 
Laughing  at  their  mistake,  the  mob  proceeded  on,  first  giving  him  three  huzzas, 
though  his  house,  unlike  all  the  otbers,  had  not  written  on  the  door — '  No 

t  Joe,  from  some  erroneous  information  he  had  received,  always  stated  he  was 
born  in  Stanhope-street,  Clare-market,  December  18,  1779 ;  he  mentioned  this 
in  his  farewell  address  at  Sadler's  Wells,  and  again  subscribed  that  date  at  the 
end  of  his  autobiographical  notes.  He  was  in  error :  a  reference  to  the  baptismal 
register  of  St.  Clement's  Danes,  proved  ho  was  born  on  December  18,  1778,  and 
that  he  was  baptized  as  the  son  of  Joseph  and  Kebecea,  on  the  28th  of  the 
same  month  and  year.  From  this  entry,  it  might  be  inferred  that  Joe  was 
legitimate ;  but  we  are  sorry  to  be  compelled  to  record  that  he  was  not  so. 
Kebecca  was  Mrs.  Brooker,  who  had  been  from  her  infancy  a  dancer  at  Drury 
Lane,  and  subsequently,  at  Sadler's  Wells,  played  old  women,  or  anything  to 
render  herself  generally  useful.  Mr.  Hughes  and  others  who  well  remember 
her,  describe  her  as  having  been  a  short,  stout,  very  dark  woman.  The  same 
baptismal  register  from  1773  to  1788,  h»s  been  carefully  inspected,  bu  no  men- 
tion occurs  of  Joe's  only  brother,  John  Baptist,  or  of  any  other  of  the  Grimaldi 

J  Joe's  first  appearance  was  at  Sadler's  Wells,  not  at  Drury  Lane;  the  an- 
nouncement bill  for  the  opening  on  April  16,  Easter  Monday,  1781,  of  the  former 
theatre,  tells  us  of  Dancing  by  Mr.  Le  Mercier,  Mr.  Languish,  Master  and  Misa 
Grimaldi,  and  Mrs.  Button.  Here  we  see  Joe,  and  his  sister  Mary,  afterwards 
Mrs.  Williamson,  thrust  forward  sufGciently  early  to  earn  their  bread.  Grimaldi, 
in  his  farewell  address,  on  his  last  appearance  at  Sadler's  Wells,  pathetically 


piece  in  which  his  precocious  powers  were  displayed  was  the 
well-known  pantomime  of  Robinson  Crusoe,  in  wnich  the  father 
sustained  the  part  of  the  Shipwrecked  Mariner,  and  the  son 
performed  that  of  the  Little  Clown.  The  child's  success  was 
complete ;  he  was  instantly  placed  on  the  establishment,  ac- 
corded a  magniiicent  weekly  salary  of  fifteen  shillings,  and  every 
succeeding  year  was  brought  forward  in  some  new  and  pro- 
minent part.  He  became  a  favourite  behind  the  curtain  as  well 
as  before  it,  being  henceforth  distinguished  in  the  green-room 
as  "  Clever  little  Joe ;"  and  Joe  he  was  called  to  the  last  day  of 
his  life. 

In  1782,  he  first  appeared  at  Sadler's  Wells,  in  the  arduous 
character  of  a  monkey ;  and  here  he  was  fortunate  enough  to 
excite  as  much  approbation,  as  he  had  previously  elicited  in 
the  part  of  clown  at  Drury  Lane.  He  immediately  became  a 
member  of  the  regular  company  at  this  theatre,  as  he  had  done 
at  the  other  ;  and  here  he  remained  (one  season  only  excepted) 
until  the  termination  of  his  professional  life,  forty-nine  years 

Now  that  he  had  made,  or  rather  that  his  father  had  made 
for  him,  two  engagements,  by  which  he  was  bound  to  appear  at 
two  theatres  on  the  same  evening,  and  at  very  nearly  the  same 
time,  his  labours  began  in  earnest.  They  would  have  been 
arduous  for  a  man,  much  more  so  for  a  cnild ;  and  it  will  be 
obvious,  that  if  at  any  one  portion  of  his  life  his  gains  were  very 
great,  the  actual  toil  both  of  mind  and  body  by  which  they  were 
purchased  was  at  least  equally  so.  The  stage-stricken  young 
gentlemen  who  hang  about  Sadler's  Wells,  and  Astleys,  and  the 
Surrey,  and  private  theatres  of  all  kinds,  and  who  long  to 
embrace  the  theatrical  profession  because  it  is  "  so  eas^,"  little 
dream  of  all  the  anxieties  and  hardships,  and  privations  and 
sorrows,  which  make  the  sum  of  most  actors'  lives. 

We  have  already  remarked  that  the  father  of  Grimaldi  was 
an  eccentric  man ;  he  appears  to  have  been  peculiarly  eccentric, 
and  rather  unpleasantly  so,  in  the  correction  of  his  son.  Tha 

alluded  to  this  fact—"  at  a  very  early  age,  before  that  of  three  years,  I  was  in- 
troduced to  the  public,  by  my  father,  at  this  theatre." 

That  Joe  did  not  play  the  "Little  Clown"  in  Sheridan's  Pantomime  of  "Robin- 
son Crusoe,"  is  evident  from  the  construction  of  the  drama.  On  January  29, 
1781,  after  the  "  Winter's  Tale,"  Florizel,  Mr.  Brereton ;  Perdita,  Mrs.  Brereton, 
afterwards  Mrs.  J.  P.  Kemble ;  and  Hermione,  Miss  Farren;  was  performed, 
for  the  first  time,  "  Robinson  Crusoe ;  or,  Harlequin  Friday."  The  bill  of  the 
night  lets  us  know,  that  the  principal  characters  were  by  Mr.  Wright,  Mr. 
Grimaldi,  Mr.  Delpini,  Mr.  Suett,  Mr.  Gaudry,  and  Miss  Collett.  This  panto- 
mime was  performed  thirty-eight  times  that  season.  Grimaldi  played  Friday, 
not  the  "  Shipwrecked  Mariner;"  and  the  probability  is,  that  young  Joe  made 
his  first  appearance  on  the  boards  of  Old  Drury,  in  the  Pantomime  of  1782, 
entitled  "  The  Triumph  of  Mirth ;  or,  Harlequin's  Wedding,"  the  principal 
characters  in  which  were  by  Wright,  Grimaldi,  and  Delphmi.  There  were 
many  minor  persons  of  the  drama. 


child  "being  bred  up  to  play  all  kinds  of  fantastic  tricks,  was  as 
much  a  clown,  a  monkey, 'or  anything-  else  that  was  droll  and 
ridiculous,  off  the  stage,  as  on  it ;  and  being  incited  thereto  by 
the  occupants  of  the  green-room,  used  to  skip  and  tumble  about 
as  much  for  their  diversion  as  that  of  the  public.  All  this  was 
carefully  concealed  from  the  father,  who,  whenever  he  did 
happen  to  observe  any  of  the  child's  pranks,  always  <  admi- 
nistered the  same  punishment— a  sound  thrashing ;  terminating 
in  his  being  lifted  up  by  the  hair  of  the  head,  and  stuck  in  a 
corner,  whence  his  father,  with  a  severe  countenance  and  awful 
voice,  would  tell  him  "to  venture  to  move  at  his  peril." 

Venture  to  move,  however,  he  did,  for  no  sooner  would  the 
father  disappear,  than  all  the  cries  and  tears  of  the  boy  would 
disappear  too  ;  and  with  many  of  those  winks  and  grins  which 
afterwards  became  so  popular,  he  would  recommence  his  pan- 
tomime with  greater  vigour  than  ever ;  indeed,  nothing  could 
ever  stop  him  but  the  cry  of  "  Joe !  Joe !  here's  your  father  !" 
upon  which  the  boy  would  dart  back  into  the  old  corner,  and 
begin  crying  again  as  if  he  had  never  left  off. 

This  became  quite  a  regular  amusement  in  course  of  time,  and 
whether  the  father  was  coming  or  not,  the  caution  used  to  be 
given  for  the  mere  pleasure  of  seeing  "Joe"  run  back  to  his 
corner;  this  "Joe"  very  soon  discovered,  and  often  confounding 
the  warning  with  the  joke,  received  more  severe  beatings  than 
before,  from  him  whom  he  very  properly  describes  in  his  manu- 
script as  his  "severe  but  excellent  parent."  On  one  of  these 
occasions,  when  he  was  dressed  for  his  favourite  part  of  the 
little  clown  in  Eobinson  Crusoe,  with  his  face  painted  in  exact 
imitation  of  his  father's,  which  appears  to  have  been  part  of  the 
fun  of  the  scene,  the  old  gentleman  brought  him  into  the  green- 
room, and  placing  him  in  his  usual  solitary  corner,  gave  him 
strict  directions  not  to  stir  an  inch,  on  pain  of  being  thrashed, 
and  left  him. 

The  Earl  of  Derby,  who  was  at  that  time  in  the  constant  habit 
of  frequenting  the  green-room,  happened  to  walk  in  at  the 
moment,  and  seeing  a  lonesome-looking  little  boy  dressed  and 
painted  after  a  manner  very  inconsistent  with  his  solitary  air, 
good-naturedly  called  him  towards  him. 

"  Hollo !  here,  my  boy,  come  here !"  said  the  Earl. 

Joe  made  a  wonderful  and  astonishing  face,  but  remained 
where  he  was.  The  Earl  laughed  heartily,  and  looked  round 
for  an  explanation. 

"  He  dare  not  move  !"  explained  Miss  Farren,  to  whom  his 
lordship  was  then  much  attached,  and  whom  he  afterwards 
married ;  "  his  father  will  beat  him  if  he  does." 

"Indeed  !"  said  his  lordship.  At  which  Joe,  by  way  of  con- 
firmation, made  another  face  more  extraordinary  than  his  former 

'•I  think,"  said  his  lordship,  laughing  again,  "  the  boy  is  not 


Unite  so  much  afraid  of  his  father  as  you  suppose.  Come  here, 

With  this,  he  held  up  half-a-crown,  and  the  child,  perfectly- 
well  knowing  the  value  of  money,  darted  from  his  corner, 
seized  it  with  pantomimic  suddenness,  and  was  darting  back 
again,  when  the  Earl  caught  him  by  the  arm. 

"  Here,  Joe  !"  said  the  Earl,  "  take  off  your  wig  and  throw  it 
in  the  fire,  and  here's  another  half-crown  for  you.' 

!STo  sooner  said  than  done.  Off  came  the  wig, — into  the  fire 
it  went ;  a  roar  of  laughter  arose ;  the  child  capered  about  with 
a  half-crown  in  each  hand;  the  Earl,  alarmed  for^ the  conse- 
quences to  the  boy,  busied  himself  to  extricate  the  wig  with  the 
tongs  and  poker ;  and  the  father,  in  full  dress  for  the  Ship- 
wrecked Mariner,  rushed  into  the  room  at  the  same  moment  It 
was  lucky  for  "Little  Joe"  that  Lord  Derby  promptly  and 
humanely  interfered,  or  it  is  exceedingly  probable  that  his 
father  would  have  prevented  any  chance  of  his  being  buried 
alive  at  all  events,  by  killing  him  outright. 

As  it  was,  the  matter  could  not  be  compromised  without  his 
receiving  a  smart  beating,  which  made  him  cry  very  bitterly  ; 
and  the  tears  running  down  his  face,  which  was  painted  "an  inch 
thick,"  came  to  the  "complexion  at  last,"  in  parts,  and  made  him 
look  as  much  like  a  little  clown  as  like  a  little  human  being,  to 
neither  of  which  characters  he  bore  the  most  distant  resemblance. 
He  was  "called"  almost  immediately  afterwards,  and  the  father 
being  in  a  violent  rage,  had  not  noticed  the  circumstance  until  the 
little  object  came  on  the  stage,  when  a  general  roar  of  laughter 
directed  his  attention  to  his  grotesque  countenance.  Becoming 
more  violent  than  before,  he  fell  upon  him  at  once,  and  beat  him 
severely,  and  the  child  roared  vociferously.  This  was  all  taken 
by  the  audience  as  a  most  capital  joke;  shouts  of  laughter 
and  peals  of  applause  shook  the  house ;  and  the  newspapers  next 
morning  declared,  that  it  was  perfectly  wonderful  to  see  a  mere 
child  perform  so  naturally,  and  highly  creditable  to  his  father's 
talents  as  a  teacher ! 

This  is  no  bad  illustration  of  some  of  the  miseries  of  a  poor 
actor's  life.  The  jest  on  the  lip,  and  the  tear  in  the  eye,  the 
merriment  on  the  mouth,  and  the  aching  of  the  heart,  have 
called  down  the  same  shouts  of  laughter  and  peals  of  applause  a 
hundred  times.  Characters  in  a  state  of  starvation  are  almost 
invariably  laughed  at  upon  the  stage ; — the  audience  have  had 
their  dinner. 

The  bitterest  portion  of  the  boy's  punishment  was  the  being 
deprived  of  the  five  shillings,  which  the  excellent  parent  put 
into  his  own  pocket,  possibly  because  he  received  the  child's 
salary  also,  and  in  order  that  everything  might  be,  as  Gold- 
smith's Bear-leader  has  it,  "in  a  concatenation  accordingly," 
The  Earl  gave  him  half-a-crown  every  time  he  saw  him  after- 


wards  though,  and  the  child  had  good  cause  for  regret  when  his 
lordship  married  Miss  Farren,*  and  left  the  green-room. 

At  Sadler's  Wells  he  became  a  favourite  almost  as  speedily  as 
at  Drury  Lane.  King,  the  comedian,t  who  was  principal  pro- 

*  Miss  Farren,  previously  to  her  marriage  with  the  Earl  of  Derby,  took  her  final 
leave  of  the  stage,  as  Lady  Teazle,  in  "The  School  for  Scandal,"  April  8,  1797. 

t  Tom  King  was  the  manager  of  Sadler's  Wells  Theatre  from  Easter,  1772,  till 
the  close  of  the  season,  1782;  when,  on  Sheridan's  resignation  as  manager  of 
Drury  Lane,  King  succeeded  him  in  September,  1782,  and  relinquished  the 
management  of  Sadler's  Wells  to  Wroughton,  whose  term  commenced  at  Easter, 
1783.  We  have  already  explained  that  Joe's  father  was  not  employed  at  Sadler's 
Wells  in  1781;  and  yet,  perhaps  in  consideration  of  Master  and  Miss,  Signer 
Grimaldi  had  a  benefit  at  that  theatre,  on  Thursday,  September  12,  1782 ;  the 
usual  diversions  were  announced,  but  he  did  not  take  any  part  in  the  business  of 
the  evening.  The  bills  announced,  "  Tickets  and  Places  to  be  had  only  of  Mr. 
Grimaldi,  at  No.  5,  Princes  Street,  Drury  Lane,  and  opposite  Sadler's  Wells 
Gate."  Signer  Placido's  night  followed  on  Monday,  September  16,  when,  with 
other  new  amusements,  was  introduced  "  A  new  Pantomime  Dance,  for  the 
first  time,  called  ' The  Woodcutter ;  or,  the  Lucky  Mischance/  characters  by 
Mr.  Dupuis,  then  principal  dancer  at  the  Wells,  Mr.  Meunier,  Mr.  Grimaldi, 
Mrs.  Button,  Signer  Placido,  and  the  Little  Devil,  being  their  first  Pantomimical 
performance  in  this  kingdom."  This  was  the  only  appearance  of  Signer 
Grimaldi  at  the  Wells  in  1782  ;  for  which,  possibly,  he  was  paid  by  Placido. 

Young  Joe's  introduction  to  Sadler's  Wells,  in  1781,  as  also  the  benefit  here 
noticed,  in  1782,  were  kindnesses  probably  rendered  to  Grimaldi  by  Tom  King, 
during  the  last  two  years  of  his  management. 

Beynolds,  the  dramatist,  was  wont  to  relate  a  droll  story  of  the  Signer,  which 
may  not  improperly  be  told  here.  "  Walking  one  day  in  Pall  Mafl  with  Tom 
King,  we  met  the  celebrated  clown,  Grimaldi,  father  of  Joe  Grimaldi,  approach, 
.tig  us  with  a  face  of  the  most  ludicrous  astonishment  and  delight,  when  he 
exclaimed :  '  Oh,  vatt  a  clevare  fellow  dat  Sheridan  is  ! — shall  I  tell  you  ?— oui 
— yes  ;  I  vill,  bien  done.  I  could  no  nevare  see  him  at  de  theatre,  so  je  vais 
chez  lui,  to  his  house  in  Hertford-street,  muffled  in  de  great  coat,  and  I  say, 
'Domestiquel — you  hear?'  'Yes,  Sare.'  'Veil,  den,  tell  your  master,  dat 
Mistare— you  know,  de  Mayor  of  Stafford  be  below.'  Domestique  fly ;  and  on 
de  instant  I  vas  shown  into  de  drawing-room.  In  von  more  minuet,  Sheridan 
leave  his  dinner  party,  enter  de  room  hastily — stop  suddenly,  and  say,  '  How 
dare  you,  Grim,  play  me  such  a  trick  ?'  Then  putting  himself  into  von  grand 
passion,  he  go  on :  '  Go,  Sare ! — get  out  of  my  house !'  '  Begar,'  say  I,  placing 

not,  morbleu !  I  shall — ' 

"  '  Oh !'  interrupted  dis  clevare  man,  'if  I  must,  Grim,  I  must,'  and  as  if  he 
vare  trfes-presse"— vary  hurry,  he  write  de  draft,  and  pushing  it  into  my  hand,  he 
squeeze  it,  and  I  do  push  it  into  my  pocket.  Eh  bien! — veil,  den,  I  do  make 
haste  to  de  banquier,  and  giving  it  to  de  clerks,  I  say,  vitement,  '  four  tens, 
if  you  please,  Sare.  'Four  tens!'  he  say,  with  much  surprise;  'de  draft  be 
only  for  four  pounds !'  O,  vat  a  clevare  fellow  dat  Sheridan  is  !  Veil,  den,  I 
Ray, '  If  you  please,  Sare,  donnez-moi  done,  dose  four  pounds.'  And  den  he  say, 
'  Call  again  to-morrow.'  Next  day,  I  meet  de  manager  in  de  street,  and  I  say, 
1  Mistare  Sheridan  !  have  you  forget  ?'  and  den  he  laugh,  and  say,  '  Vy,  Grim,  I 
recollected  afterwards— I  left  out  de  0  !'  O,  vat  a  clevare  fellow  dat  Sheridan 
is  !'  " 

Again  meeting  Grimaldi,  some  months  afterwards,  Eeynolds  asked  him, 
irhether  the  manager  had  found  means  to  pay  him  the  amount  of  his  dishonoured 
cheque.  He  replied  in  the  affirmative ;  but  with  a  look  and  tone  of  voice  so 
altered,  it  seemed  as  if  the  successful  adroitness  of  Sheridan's  ruse  centre  ruse, 
had^ afforded  him  more  enjoyment,  and  given  him  a  higher  opinion  of  the  manage* 
a  clevare  fellow,"  than  the  mere  passing  business  affair  of  paying  him  Mg 


prietor  of  the  former  theatre  and  acting  manager  of  the  latter, 
took  a  great  deal  of  notice  of  him,  and  occasionally  gave  the 
child  a  guinea  to  huy  a  rouking-horse  or  a  cart,  or  some  toy  that 
struck  his  fancy.  During  the  run  of  the  iirst  piece  in  which  he 
played  at  Sadler's  Wells,  he  produced  his  first  serious  effect, 
which,  hut  for  the  good  fortune  which  seems  to  have  attended 
him  in  such  cases,  might  have  prevented  his  subsequent  ap- 
pearance on  any  stage.  ^  He  played  a  monkey,  and  had  to 
accompany  the  clown  (his  father)  throughout  the  piece.  In 
one  of  the  scenes,  the  clown  used  to  lead  him  on  by  a  chain 
attached  to  his  waist,  and  with  this  chain  he  would  swing  him 
round  and  round,  at  arm's  length,  with  the  utmost  velocity. 
One  evening,  when  this  feat  was  in  the  act  of  performance,  the 
chain  broke,  and  he  was  hurled  a  considerable  distance  into 
the  pit,  fortunately  without  sustaining  the  slightest  injury; 
for  he  was  flung  by  a  miracle  into  the  very  arms^  of  an  old 
gentleman  who  was  sitting  gazing  at  the  stage  with  intense 

Among  the  many  persons  who  in  this  early  stage  of  his  career 
behaved  with  great  kindness  to  him,  were  the  famous  rope- 
dancers,  Mr,  and  Mrs.  liedige,  then  called  Le  Petit  Diable,  * 
and  La  Belle  Espagnole ;  who  often  gave  him  a  guinea  to  buy 
some  childish  luxury,  which  his  father  invariably  took  away 
and  deposited  in  a  box,  with  his  name  written  outside,  which 
he  would  lock  very  carefully,  and  then,  giving  the  boy  the  key, 
say,  "  Mind,  Joe,  ven  I  die,  dat  is  your  vortune."  Eventually 
he  lost  both  the  box  and  the  fortune,  as  will  hereafter  appear. 

As  he  had  now  nearly  four  months  vacant  out  of  every  twelve, 
the  run  of  the  Christmas  pantomime  at  Drury  Lane  seldom 
exceeding  a  month,  and  Sadler's  Wells  not  opening  until  Easter, 
he  was  sent  for  that  period  of  the  year  to  a  boarding-school  at 
Putney,  kept  by  a  Mr.  .Ford,  of  whose  kindness  and  goodness  of 
heart  to  him  on  a  later  occasion  of  his  life,  he  spoke,  when  an 
old  man,  with  the  deepest  gratitude.  He  fell  in  here  with 
many  schoolfellows  who  afterwards  became  connected  one  way 
or  another  with  dramatic  pursuits,  among  whom  was  Mr.  Henry 
Harris,  of  Covent  Garden  Theatre.  We  do  not  find  that  any 
of  these  schoolfellows  afterwards  became  pantomime  actors ; 
but  recollecting  the  humour  and  vivacity  of  the  boy,  the  wonder 
to  us  is,  that  they  were  not  all  clowns  when  they  grew  up. 

*  Paulo  KedigcS,  "  Le  Petit  Diable,"  made  his  first  appearance  at  Sadler's 
Wells  with  Placide,  the  "  French  Voltigeur,"  under  the  Italianised  name  of 
Signer  Placido,  on  Easter  Monday,  1781,  on  the  same  night  with  young  Joe.  La 
Belle  Espagnole,  whomAngelo  describes  as  "a  very  beautiful  woman,"  made  her 
first  appearance  at  the  same  theatre,  on  April  1,  17s5 ;  having,  as  the  bills 
expressed  it,  "  been  celebrated  at  Paris  ail  the  winter,  for  her  very  elegant  and 
wonderful  performances."  She  soon  after  became  the  wife  of  the  "  Little  Devil." 
Paulo,  the  late  clown,  was  their  son,  and  might  be  almost  said  to  have  been  born 
within  the  walls  of  that  theatre.  The  manager's  attentions  to  this  beautiful 
Spaniard  were  the  cause  of  much  jealousy  to  Mrs.  Wroughton,  and  some  ludicrous 
Btoriee  are  still  afloat. 

12  MEMOIlls  or  JOSEPH  GBDtALDI. 

In  the  Christmas  of  1782,  he  appeared  in  his  second  character* 
at  Drury  Lane,  called  "  Harlequin  Junior ;  or,  the  Magic  Cestus,' 
in  which  he  represented  a  demon,  sent  by  some  opposing  magi- 
cian to  counteract  the  power  of  the  harlequin.  In  this,  as  in  his 
preceding  part,  he  was  fortunate  enough  to  meet  with  great 
applause;  and  from  this  period  his  reputation  was  made, 
although  it  naturally  increased  with  his  years,  strength,  and 

In  the  following  Easterf  he  repeated  the  monkey  at  Sadler's 
"Wells  without  the  pit  effect.  As  the  piece  was  withdrawn  at 
the  end  of  a  month,  and  he  had  nothing  to  do  for  the  remainder 
of  the  season,  he  again  repaired  to  Putney. 

In  Christmas  1783,  he  once  more  appeared  at  Drury  Lane,  in 
a  pantomime  called  "Hurly  Burly."  J  In  this  piece  he  had  to 
represent,  not  only  the  old  part  of  the  monkey,  but  that  of  a  cat 
besides ;  and  in  sustaining  the  latter  character  he  met  with  an 
accident,  his  speedy  recovery  from  which  would  almost  induce 
one  to  believe  that  he  had  so  completely  identified  himself  with 
the  character  as  to  have  eight  additional  chances  for  his  life.  The 
dress  he  wore  was  so  clumsily  contrived,  that  when  it  was  sewn 
upon  him  he  could  not  see  before  him ;  consequently,  as  he  was 
running  about  the  stage,  he  fell  down  a  trap-door,  which  had 
been  left  open  to  represent  a  well,  and  tumbled  down  a  distance 
of  forty  feet,  >  thereby  breaking  his  collar-bone,  and  inflicting 
several  contusions  upon  his  body.  He  was  immediately  conveyed 
home,  and  placed  under  the  care  of  a  surgeon,  but  he  did  not 
recover  soon  enough  to  appear  any  more  that  season  at  Drury 
Lane,  although  at  Easter  he  performed  at  Sadler's  Wells  as 

*  The  pantomime  of  "  Harlequin  Junior ;  or,  the  Magic  Cestua,"  was  per- 
formed for  the  first  time,  on  Wednesday,  January  7,  1784,  not  Christmas,  1782 ; 
and  was  highly  successful,  from  the  excellence  of  the  characters,  the  beautiful 
scenery,  and  the  new  deceptions — Grimaldi,  as  Clown,  obtruding  into  a  hot- 
house, became  suddenly  transformed  into  a  fine  large  water-melon ;  in  another 
scene,  changed  into  a  goose,  his  affected  airs  in  displaying  his  tail  in  the  peacock 
style,  set  the  house  in  roars  of  laughter.  The  change  of  the  Bank  of  Paris  into  an 
air-balloon,  was  a  trick  that  obtained  a  full  plaudit.  So  great,  in  fact,  was  the 
attraction,  it  was  not  only  frequently  performed  during  the  remainder  of  the 
season,  1783-4,  but  also  in  that  of  1784-5,  being  revived  on  September  28,  1784, 
and  repeated  in  lieu  of  a  new  pantomime,  on  December  27,  in  that  year,  and  it 
ran  its  full  complement  of  representations  as  a  new  piece. 

t  We  do  not  find  that  at  Easter,  1784,  any  piece  was  withdrawn  in  which  a 
monkey  was  likely  to  be  introduced.  The  Sieur  Scaglioni's  troop  of  Dancing 
Dogs,  and  their  sagacious  manoeuvres,  made  up  speedily  for  the  losses  of  the 
previous  season.  The  pantomime  was  entitled  "  The  Enchanted  Wood ;  or, 

Larlequm  s  Vagaries ;"  a  dance  called  the  "  Fricassee ;"  and  the  w;  ole  concluded 

ith  the  "  Death  and  Revival  of  Harlequin,"  which  "  ran"  the  whole  of  the 


1  A  pantomimical  oho,  entitled  ««  The  Caldron,"  in  which  Gnmaldi  played 

Clown,  was  produced  at  Drury-lane,  September  27,  1785,  performed  a  few  nights, 

and  withdrawn     The  pantomime  of  "  Hurly  Burly  :  or,  the  Fairv  ol  the  Wells," 

'M  p,r£?aUCed,f?r  'K6.  "r,st  time>  on  December  26,  m  that  year,  and  not  at  Christ- 

Swoewftd  *ldl  played  "  clodPate,"  the  Clown,  in  this  piece  :  it  was  very 


In  the  summer  of  this  year,  he  used  to  be  allowed,  ae  a  mark 
of  high  and  special  favour,  to  spend  every  alternate  Sunday  at 
the  house  of  his  mother's  father,  "who,"  says  Grimaldi  himself, 
"  resided  in  Newton-street,  Holborn,  and  was  a  carcase  butcher, 
doing  a  prodigious  business ;  besides  which,  he  kept  the  Blooms- 
bury  slaughter-house,  and,  at  the  time  of  his  death,  had  done 
so  for  more  than  sixty  years."  With  this  grandfather,  "Joe" 
was  a  great  favourite ;  and  as  he  was  very  much  indulged  and 
petted  when  he  went  to  see  him,  he  used  to  look  forward  to 
every  visit  with  great  anxiety.  His  father,  upon  his  part,  was 
most  anxious  that  he  should  support  the  credit  of  the  family 
upon  these  occasions,  and,  after  great  deliberation,  and  much 
consultation  with  tailors,  the  "little  clown"  was  attired  for  one 
of  these  Sunday  excursions  in  the  following  style.  On  his  back 
he  wore  a  green  coat,  embroidered  with  almost  as  many  artificial 
flowers  as  his  father  had  put  in  the  garden  at  Lambeth ;  beneath 
this  there  shone  a  satin  waistcoat  of  dazzling  whiteness;  and 
beneath  that  again  were  a  pair  of  green  cloth  breeches  (the  word 
existed  in  those  days)  richly  embroidered.  His  legs  were  fitted 
into  white  silk  stockings,  and  his  feet  into  shoes  with  brilliant 
paste  buckles,  of  which  he  also  wore  another  resplendent  pair  at 
his  knees :  he  had  a  laced  shirt,  cravat,  and  ruffles ;  a  cocked-hat 
upon  his  head ;  a  small  watch  set  with  diamonds — theatrical, 
we_  suppose— in  his  fob ;  and  a  little  cane  in  his  hand,  which  he 
switched  to  and  fro  as  our  clowns  may  do  now. 

Being  thus  thoroughly  equipped  for  starting,  he  was  taken  in 
for  his  father's  inspection :  the  old  gentleman  was  pleased  to 
signify  his  entire  approbation  with  his  appearance,  and,  after 
kissing  him  in  the  moment  of  his  gratification,  demanded  the 
key  of  the  "  fortune-box."  The  key  being  got  with  some  diffi- 
culty out  of  one  of  the  pockets  of  the  green  smalls,  the  bottom  of 
which  might  be  somewhere  near  the  buckles,  the  old  gentleman 
took  a  guinea  out  of  the  box,  and,  putting  it  into  the  boy's 
pocket,  said,  "  Dere  now.  you  are  a  gentleman,  and  something 
more — you  have  got  a  guinea  in  your  pocket."  The  box  having 
been  carefully  locked,  and  the  key  returned  to  the  owner  of  the 
"fortune,"  off  he  started,  receiving  strict  injunctions  to  be  home 
by  eight  o'clock.  The  father  would  not  allow  anybody  to  attend 
him,  on  the  ground  that  he  was  a  gentleman,  and  consequently 
perfectly  able  to  take  care  of  himself ;  so  away  he  went,  to  walk 
all  the  way  from  Little  Eussel-street,  Drury-lane,  to  Newton- 
street,  Holborn. 

The  child's  appearance  in  the  street  excited  considerable 
curiosity,  as  the  appearance  of  any  other  child,  alone,  in  such  a 
costume,  might  very  probably  have  done  ;  but  he  was  a  public 
character  besides,  and  the  astonishment  was  proportionate. 
"Hollo!"  qried  one  boy,  "here's  'Little  Joe!'  "  "Get  along," 
said  another,  "  it's  the  monkey."  A  third,  thought  it  was  the 
" bear  dresaad  for  a  dance*"  and  the  fourth  suggested  "it  might 


"be  the  cat  going  out  to  a  party,"  while  the  more  sedate  passengers 
could  not  help  laughing  heartily,  and  saying  how  ridiculous  it 
was  to  trust  such  a  child  in  the  streets  alone.  However,  he 
walked  on,  with  various  singular  grimaces,  until  he  stopped  to 
look  at  a  female  of  miserable  appearance,  who  was  reclining  on 
the  pavement,  and  whose  diseased  and  destitute  aspect  had 
already  collected  a  crowd.  The  boy  stopped,  like  others,  and 
hearing  her  tale  of  distress,  became  so  touched,  that  he  thrust 
his  hand  into  his  pocket,  and  having  at  last  found  the  bottom  of 
it.  pulled  out  his  guinea,  which  was  the  only  coin  he  had,  and 
slipped  it  into  her  hand ;  then  away  he  walked  again  with  a 
greater  air  than  before. 

The  sight  of  the  embroidered  coat,  and  breeches,  and  the 
paste  buckles,  and  the  satin  waistcoat  and  cocked-hat,  had 
astonished  the  crowd  not  a  little  in  the  outset ;  but  directly  it 
was  understood  that  the  small  owner  of  these  articles  had  given 
the  woman  a  guinea,  a  great  number  of  people  collected  around 
him,  and  began  shouting  and  staring  by  turns  most  earnestly. 
The  boy,  not  at  all  abashed,  headed  the  crowd,  and  walked  on 
very  deliberately,  with  a  train  a  street  or  two  long  behind  him, 
until  he  fortunately  encountered  a  friend  of  his  father's,  who 
no  sooner  saw  the  concourse  that  attended  him,  than  he  took 
him  in  his  arms  and  carried  him,  despite  a  few  kicks  and  strug- 
gles, in  all  his  brilliant  attire,  to  his  grandfather's  housej  where 
he  spent  the  day  very  much  to  the  satisfaction  of  all  parties 

"When  he  got  safely  home  at  night,  the  father  referred  to  his 
watch,  and  finding  that  he  had  returned  home  punctual  to  the 
appointed  time,  kissed  him,  extolled  him  for  paying  such  strict 
attention  to  his  instructions,  examined  his  dress,  discovered 
satisfactorily  that  no  injury  had  been  done  to  his  clothes,  and 
concluded  by  asking  for  the  key  of  the  "  fortune-box,"  and  the 
guinea.  The  boy,  at  first,  quite  forgot  the  morning  adventure ; 
but,  after  rummaging  his  pockets  for  the  guinea,  and  not  find- 
ing it,  he  recollected  what  had  occurred,  and,  falling  upon  the 
knees  of  the  knee-smalls,  confessed  it  all,  and  implored  for- 

The  father  was  puzzled ;  he  was  always  giving  away  money 
in  charity  himself,  and  he  could  scarcely  reprimand  the  child 
for  doing  the  same.  He  looked  at  him  for  some  seconds  with  a 
perplexed  countenance,  and  then,  contenting  himself  with  simply 
saying,  "  I'll  beat  you,"  sent  him  to  bed. 

Among  the  eccentricities  of  the  old  gentleman,  one — certainly 
not  his  most  amiable  one — was,  that  whatever  he  promised  he 
performed  ;  and  that  when,  as  in  this  case,  he  promised  to  thrash 
the  boy,  he  would  very  coolly  let  the  matter  stand  over  for 
months,  but  never  forget  it  in  the  end.  This  was  ingenious, 
inasmuch  as  it  doubled,  or  trebled,  or  quadrupled  the  punish- 
ment, giving  the  unhappy  little  victim  all  the  additional  pain 


of  anticipating  it  for  a  long  time,  with  the  certainty  of  enduring 
it  in  the  end.  Four  or  five  months  after  this  occurrence,  and 
when  the  child  had  not  given  his  father  any  new  cause  of 
offence,  he  suddenly  called  him  to  him  one  day,  and  communi- 
cated the  intelligence  that  he  was  going  to  heat  him  forthwith. 
Hereupon  the  boy  began  to  cry  most  piteously,  and  faltered 
forth  the  inquiry,  "Oh!  father,  what  for  ?"— "  Remember  tha 
guinea !"  said  the  father.  And  he  gave  him  a  caning  which  he 
remembered  to  the  last  day  of  his  life. 

The  family  consisted  at  this  time  of  the  father,  mother,  Joe, 
his  only  brother  John  Baptist,  three  or  four  female  servants, 
and  a  man  of  colour  who  acted  as  footman,  and  was  dignified 
with  the  appellation  of  "Black  Sam." 

The  father  was  extremely  hospitable,  and  fond  of  company ; 
he  rarely  dined  alone,  and  on  certain  gala  days,  of  which 
Christmas-eve  was  one,  had  a  very  large  party,  upon  which 
occasions  his  really  splendid  service  of  plate,  together  with  vari- 
ous costly  articles  of  bijouterie,  were  laid  out  for  the  admiration 
of  the  guests.  Upon  one  Christmas-eve,  when  the  dining-parlour 
was  decorated  and  prepared  with  all  due  gorgeousness  and 
splendour,  the  two  boys,  accompanied  by  Black  Sam,  stole  into 
it,  and  began  to  pass  various  encomiums  on  its  beautiful  appear- 

"  Ah !"  said  Sam,  in  reply  to  some  remark  of  the  brothers, 
"  and  when  old  Massa  die,  all  dese  fine  things  vill  be  yours." 

Both  the  boys  were  much  struck  with  this  remark,  and  espe- 
cially John,  the  younger,  who,  being  extremely  young,  probably 
thought  much  less  about  death  than  his  father,  and  accordingly 
exclaimed,  without  the  least  reserve  or  delicacy,  that  he  should 
be  exceedingly  glad  if  all  these  fine  things  were  his. 

Nothing  more  was  said  upon  the  subject.  Black  Sam  went 
to  his  work,  the  boys  commenced  a  game  of  play,  and  nobody 
thought  any  more  of  the  matter  except  the  father  himself,  who, 
passing  the  door  of  the  room  at  the  moment  the  remarks  were 
made,  distinctly  heard  them.  He  pondered  over  the  matter  for 
some  days,  and  at  length,  with  the  view  of  ascertaining  the 
dispositions  of  his  two  sons,  formed  a  singular  resolution,  still 
connected  with  the  topic  ever  upwards  in  his  mind,  and  deter~ 
mined  to  feign  himself  dead.  Me  caused  himself  to  be  laid  out 
in  the  drawing-room,  covered  with  a  sheet,  and  had  the  room 
darkened,  the  windows  closed,  and  all  the  usual  ceremonies 
which  accompany  death,  performed.  All  this  being  done,  and 
the  servants  duly  instructed,  the  two  boys  were  cautiously  in- 
formed that  their  father  had  died  suddenly,  and  were  at  once 
hurried  into  the  room  where  he  lay,  in  order  that  he  might  hear 
them  give  vent  to  their  real  feelings.* 

*  A  similar  scene  has  been  frequently  represented  on  the  stage.  It  is  probable 
that  the  father  derived  the  notion  from  some  play  in  which  he  had  acted,  or 
which  he  had  seen  performed. 


When  Joe  was  brought  into  the  dark  room  on  so  short  a  notice, 
his  sensations  were  rather  complicated,  but  they  speedily  resolved 
themselves  into  a  firm  persuasion  that  his  father  was  not  dead, 
A  variety  of  causes  led  him  to  this  conclusion,  among  which  the 
most  prominent  were,  his  having  very  recently  seen  his  father  in 
the  best  health ;  and,  besides  several  half-suppressed  winks  and 
blinks  from  Black  Sam,  his  observing,  by  looking  closely  at  the 
sheet,  that  his  deceased  parent  still  breathed.  With  very  little 
hesitation  the  boy  perceived  what  line  of  conduct  he  ought  to  adopt, 
and  at  once  bursting  into  a  roar  of  the  most  distracted  grief, 
flung  himself  upon  the  floor,  and  rolled  about  in  a  seeming 
transport  of  anguish. 

John,  not  having  seen  so  much  of  public  life  as  his  brother, 
was  not  so  cunning,  and  perceiving  in  his  father's  death  nothing 
but  a  relief  from  flogging  and  books  (for  both  of  which  he  had 
a  great  dislike),  and  the  immediate  possession  of  m all  ^the  plate 
in  the  dining  room,  skipped  about  the  room,  indulging  in  various 
snatches  of  song,  and,  snapping  his  fingers,  declared  that  he  was 
glad  to  hear  it. 

"  0  !  you  cruel  boy,"  said  Joe,  in  a  passion  of  tears,  "hadn't 
you  any  love  for  your  dear  father  ?  Oh  !  what  would  I  give  to 
see  him  alive  again !" 

"  Oh!  never  mind,"  replied  the  brother;  "don't  be  such  a  fool 
as  to  cry ;  we  can  have  the  cuckoo-clock  all  to  ourselves  now." 

This  was  more  than  the  deceased  could  bear.  He  jumped 
from  the  bier,  opened  the  shutters,  threw  off  the  sheet,  and 
attacked  his  younger  son  most  unmercifully;  while  Joe,  not 
knowing  what  might  be  his  own  fate,  ran  and  hid  himself  in 
the  coal-cellar,  where  he  was  discovered  some  four  hours  after- 
wards, by  Black  Sam,  fast  asleep,  who  carried  him  to  his  father, 
who  had  been  anxiously  in  search  of  him,  and  by  whom  he  was 
received  with  every  demonstration  of  affection,  as  the  son  who 
truly  and  sincerely  loved  him. 

From  this  period,  up  to  the  year  1788,  he  continued  regularly 
employed  upon  the  same  salaries  as  he  had  originally  receiver! 
both  at  Drury  Lane  and  Sadler's  Wells. 



1788  to  1794. 

T!i«  Father's  real  Death— His  Will,  and  failure  of  the  Executor— Generous  con. 
duct  of  Grimaldi's  Schoolmaster,  and  of  Mr.  Wroughton,  the  Comedian — 
Kindness  of  Sheridan — Grimaldi's  industry  and  amusements — Fly  catching — 
Expedition  in  search  of  the  "  Dartford  Blues" — Mrs.  Jordan — Adventure 
on  Clapham  Common  :  the  piece  of  Tin — His  first  love  and  its  consequences. 

IT  has  been  stated  in  several  publications  that  Grrimaldi's  father 
died  in  1787.  It  would  appear  from  several  passages  in  the 
memoranda  dictated  by  his  son,  that  he  expired  on  the  14th  of 
March,  1788,  of  dropsy,  in  the  seventy-eighth  year*  of  his  age, 
and  that  he  was  interred  in  the  burial-ground  attached  to  Ex 
mouth-street  Chapel ;  a  spot  of  ground  in  which,  if  it  bore  any 
resemblance  at  that  time  to  its  present  condition,  he  could  have 
had  very  little  room  to  walk  about  and  meditate  when  alive. 
He  left  a  will,  by  which  he  directed  all  his  effects  and  jewels  to 
be  sold  by  public  auction,  and  the  proceeds  to  be  added  to  his 
funded  property,  which  exceeded  15,000^.;  the  whole  of  the  gross 
amount,  he  directed  should  be  divided  equally  between  the  two 
brothers  as  they  respectively  attained  their  majority.  Mr. 
King,t  to  whom  allusion  has  already  been  made,  was  appointed 


aged  72.  ^  m  ^  m 

by  a  too  frequent  repetition,  perverting"the  vein  of  his  s'tory,  was  no  mean 
authority  as  regarded  the  old  players,  most  of  whom  are  now — 

Down  among  the  dead  men ! 

He  used  to  assert  that  old  Grimaldi  died  in  Lambeth,  at  his  apartments,  up  a 
court  within  a  door  or  two  of  the  Pheasant  public-house  in  Stangate-street. 
Reference  to  the  burial-register  of  St.  Mary's,  Lambeth,  elicited  nothing  as  to 
his  interment  there ;  but  on  searching  the  register  belonging  to  Northampton 
Chapel,  in  Exmouth-street,  we  found  it  there  recorded  "March 23,  1788,  Mr. 
Joseph  Grimaldi,  from  Lambeth,  aged  75."  It  will  be  observed,  there  is  a  dif- 
ference of  three  years  in  the  age,  as  stated  in  the  daily  papers  of  the  time,  and 
in  the  register  or  his  burial.  No  stone,  or  other  memorial,  marks  the  spot  where 
his  ashes  lie. 

The  court  in  which  Grimaldi  died,  in  poverty,  not  wealth,  was,  till  the  last 
destruction  of  Astley's  Amphitheatre,  under  the  tenancy  of  Ducrow,  called 
Theatre-court,  or  place  ;  but  the  fire  consumed  the  greater  part,  and  its  site  is 
now  occupied  by  that  portion  of  Batty's  Amphitheatre  which  is  in  the  Palace 

t  The  original  Editor  has  been  misinformed.  We  are  sorry  to  have  to  record 
that  Signor  Grimaldi  had  nothing  to  bequeath  to  any  one ;  he  made  no  will ;  and 
i  search  at  the  Prerogative  Office,  Doctor's  Commons,  for  the  two  years  following 
his  death,  is  evidence  of  this,  no  probate  having  issued  thence. 



co-executor  with  a  Mr.  Joseph  Hopwood,  a  lace  manufacturer  in 
Long-acre,  at  that  time  supposed  to  possess  not  only  an  excel- 
lent business,  hut  independent  property  to  a  considerable  amount 
besides.  Shortly  after  they  entered  upon  their  office,  in  conse- 
quence of  Mr.  Tung  declining  to  act,  the  whole  of  the  estate  fell 
to  the  management  of  Mr.  Hopwood,  who,  employing  the  whole 
of  the  brothers'  capital  in  his  trade,  became  a  bankrupt  within 
a  year,  fled  from  England,  and  was  never  heard  of  afterwards. 
By  this  unfortunate  and  unforeseen  event,  the  brothers  lost  the 
whole  of  their  fortune,  and  were  thrown  upon  their  own  resources 
and  exertions  for  the  means  of  subsistence. 

It  is  very  creditable  to  all  parties,  and  while  it  speaks  highly 
for  the  kind  feeling  of  the  friends  of  the  widow,  and  her  two 
sons,  bears  high  testimony  to  their  conduct  and  behaviour,  that 
no  sooner  was  the  failure  of  the  executor  known  than  offers  of 
assistance  were  heaped  upon  them  from  all  quarters.  Mr.  Ford, 
the  Putney  schoolmaster,  offered  at  once  to  receive  Joseph  into 
his  school  and  to  adopt  him  as  his  own  son ;  this  offer  being 
declined  by  his  mother,  Mr.  Sheridan,  who  was  then  proprietor 
of  Drury  Lane  Theatre,  raised  the  boy's  salary,  unasked,  to  one 
pound  per  week,  and  permitted  his  mother,  who  was  and  had 
been  from  her  infancy  a  dancer  at  that  establishment,  to  accept 
a  similar  engagement  at  Sadler's  Wells,  which  was,  in  fact, 
equivalent  to  a  double  salary,  both  theatres  being  open  together 
for  a  considerable  period  of  the  year. 

At  Sadler's  Wells,  where  Joseph  appeared  as  usual  in  1788,* 
shortly  after  his  father's  death,  they  were  not  so  liberal,  nor  was 
the  aspect  of  things  so  pleasing,  his  salary  of  fifteen  shillings 
a- week  being  very  unceremoniously  cut  down  to  three,  and  his 
mother  being  politely  informed,  upon  her  remonstrating,  that  if 

*  The  season  of  1788,  at  Sadler's  Wells,  was  one  of  no  common  interest.  On 
Whitsun  Monday,  May  12,  in  a  musical  piece,  entitled  "  Saint  Monday ;  or,  a 
Cure  for  a  Scold,"  Mr.  Braham,  then  Master  Abrahams,  made  his  first  appear- 
ance. He  is  named  in  the  bills  of  August  18,  but  appears  soon  after  to  have  left 
Sadler's  Wells,  and  on  the  30th  of  the  same  month  had  a  benefit  at  the  Eoyalty 
Theatre,  Well-street,  near  Goodman' s-flelds,  as  "  Master  Braham,"  when  the 
celebrated  tenor  singer,  Leoni,  his  master,  announced  that  as  the  last  time  of  his 
performing  on  the  stage.  Miss  Shields,  who  appeared  at  Sadler's  Wells  in  the 
same  piece  on  Whitsun  Monday,  became  towards  the  end  of  May,  Mrs.  Leffler. 
Two  Frenchmen,  named  Duranie  and  Bois-Maispn,  as  pantomimists,  eclipsed  all 
their  predecessors  on  that  stage.  Boyce,  a  distinguished  engraver,  was  the 
Harlequin,  and  by  those  who  remember  him,  he  is  eulogised  as  the  most  finished 
actor  of  the  motley  hero,  either  in  his  own  day,  or  since.  On  the  benefit  night 
of  Joseph  Dortor,  Clown  to  the  rope,  and  Eicher,  the  rope  dancer,  Miss  Eicher 
made  her  first  appearance  on  two  slack  wires,  passing  through  a  hoop,  with  a 
pyramid  of  glasses  on  her  head ;  and  Master  Eicher  performed  on  the  tight  rope, 
with  a  skipping  rope.  Joseph  Dortor,  among  other  almost  incredible  feats, 
drank  a  glass  of  wine  backwards  from  the  stage-floor,  beating  a  drum  at  the 
same  time.  Lawrence,  the  father  of  Joe's  friend,  Bichard  Lawrence,  threw  a 
summerset  over  twelve  men's  heads,  and  Paul  Eedige",  "  The  Little  Devil,"  on 
October  1,  threw  a  summerset  over  two  men  on  horseback,  the  riders  having 
each  a  lighted  candle  on  his  head.  Dubois,-  as  Clown  to  the  Pantomime,  had  no 
euperior  in  his  time ;  and  the  troop  of  Voltigeura  were  pre-emineinfi  for  their 
agility,  skill,  and  d«rinfl. 


the  alteration  did  not  suit  her,  he  was  at  perfect  liberty  to 
transfer  his  valuable  services  to  any  other  house.  Small  as  the 
pittance  was,  they  could  not  afford  to  refuse  it ;  and  at  that 
salary  he  remained  at  Sadler's  "Wells  for  three  years,  occasionally 
superintending  the  property-room,  sometimes  assisting  in  the 
carpenter's,  and  sometimes  in  the  painter's,  and,  in  fact,  lending 
a  hand  wherever  it  was  most  needed. 

When  the  defalcation  of  the  executor  took  place,  the  family 
were  compelled  to  give  up  their  comfortable  establishment,  and 
to  seek  for  lodgings  of  an  inferior  description.  His  mother 
knowing  a  Mr.  and  Mrs.  Bailey,  who  then  resided  in  Great 
Wild-street,  and  who  let  lodgings,  applied  to  them,  and  there 
they  lived,  in  three  rooms  on  the  first  floor,  for  several  years. 
The  brother  could  not  be  prevailed  upon  to  accept  any  regular 
engagement,  for  he  thought  and  dreamt  of  nothing  but  going  to 
sea,  and  evinced  the  utmost  detestation  of  the  stage.  Sometimes, 
when  boys  were  wanted  in  the  play  at  Drury  Lane,  he  was  sent 
for,  and  attended,  for  which  he  received  a  shilling  per  night ; 
but  so  great  was  his  unwillingness  and  evident  dissatisfaction 
on  such  occasions,  that  Mr.  Wroughton,  the  comedian,  who,  by 
purchasing  the  property  of  Mr.  King,  became  about  this  period* 
proprietor  of  Sadler's  Wells,  stepped  forward  in  the  boy's  behalf, 
and  obtained  for  him  a  situation  on  board  an  East-Indiaman, 
which  then  lay.  in  the  river,  and  was  about  to  sail  almost  imme- 

John  was  delighted  when  the  prospect  of  realizing  his  ardent 
wishes  opened  upon  him  so  suddenly ;  but  his  raptures  were 
diminished  by  the  discovery  that  an  outfit  was  indispensable, 
and  that  it  would  cost  upwards  of  fifty  pounds :  a  sum  which, 
it  is  scarcely  necessary  to  say,  his  friends,  in  their  reduced  posi- 
tion, could  not  command.  But  the  same  kind-hearted  gentleman 
removed  this  obstacle,  and  with  a  generosity  and  readiness 
which  enhanced  the  value  of  the  gift  an  hundredfold,  advanced, 
without  security  or  obligation,  the  whole  sum  required,  merely 
saying,  "  Mind,  John,  when  you  come  to  be  a  captain  you  must 
pay  it  me  back  again." 

There  is  no  diificulty  in  providing  the  necessaries  for  a  voyage 
to  any  part  of  the  world  when  you  have  provided  the  first  and 
most  important — money.  In  two  days,  John  took  his  leave  of 
his  mother  and  brother,  and  with  his  outfit,  or  kit,  was  safely 
deposited  on  board  the  vessel  in  which  a  berth  had  been  pro- 
cured for  him ;  but  the  boy,  who  was  of  a  rash,  hasty,  and  in- 
considerate temper,  finding,  on  going  on  board,  that  a  delay  of 
ten  days  would  take  place  before  the  ship  sailed,  and  that  a 
king's  ship,  which  lay  near  her,  was  just  then  preparing  to 
drop  down  to  Gravesend  with  the  tide,  actually  swam  from  his 

*  Further  inquiries  enable  us  to  prove  that  King  transferred  his  right  in 
Sadler's  Wells  to  Messrs.  Wroughton  and  Serjeant,  at  the  close  of  the  year  17& 
0  2 


own  ship  to  the  other,  entered  himself  as  a  seaman  or  cabin-boy 
on  board  the  latter  in  some  feigned  name, — what  it  was  his 
friends  never  heard, — and  so  sailed  immediately,  leaving  every 
article  of  his  outfit,  down  to  the  commonest  necessary  of  wearing 
apparel,  on  board  the  East-Indiaman,  on  the  books  of  which  he 
had  been  entered  through  the  kindness  of  Mr.  Wroughton.  He 
disappeared  in  1789,  and  he  was  not  heard  of,  or  from,  or  seen, 
for  fourteen  years  afterwards. 

At  this  period  of  his  life,  Joseph  was  far  from  idle  ;  he  had  to 
walk  from  Drury  Lane  to  Sadler's  "Wells  every  morning  to 
attend  rehearsals,  which  then  began  at  ten  o'clock ;  to  be  back 
at  Drury  Lane  to  dinner  by  two,  or  go  without  it ;  to  be  back 
again  at  Sadler's  "Wells  in  the  evening,  in  time  for  the  com- 
mencement of  the  performances  at  six  o'clock ;  to  go  through 
uninterrupted  labour  from  that  time  until  eleven  o'clock,  or 
later ;  and  then  to  walk  home  again,  repeatedly  after  having 
changed  his  dress  twenty  times  in  the  course  of  the  night. 

Occasionally,  when  the  performances  at  Sadler's  Wells  were 
prolonged  so  that  the  curtain  fell  very  nearly  at  the  same  time 
as  the  concluding  piece  at  Drury  Lane  began,  he  was  so  pressed 
for  time  as  to  be  compelled  to  dart  out  of  the  former  theatre  at 
his  utmost  speed,  and  never  to  stop  until  he  reached  his  dressing- 
room  at  the  latter.  That  he  could  use  his  legs  to  pretty  good  advan- 
tage at  this  period  of  his  life,  two  anecdotes  will  sufficiently  show. 

On  one  occasion,  when  by  unforeseen  circumstances  he  was 
detained  at  Sadler's  Wells  beyond  the  usual  time,  he  and  Mr. 
Fairbrother  (the  father  of  the  well-known  theatrical  printer), 
who,  like  himself,  was  engaged  at  both  theatres,  and  had  agreed 
to  accompany  him  that  evening,  started  hand-in-hand  from 
Sadler's  Wells  theatre,  and  ran  to  the  stage-door  of  Drury  Lane 
in  eight  minutes  by  the  stop  watches  which  they  carried. 
Grimaldi  adds,  that  this  was  considered  a  great  feat  at  the  time ; 
and  we  should  think  it  was. 

Another  night,  during  the  time  when  the  Drury  Lane  com- 
pany were  playing  at  the  Italian  Opera-house  in  the  Haymarket, 
in  consequence  of  the  old  theatre  being  pulled  down  and  a  new- 
one  built,  Mr.  Fairbrother  and  himself,  again  put  to  their 
utmost  speed  by  lack  of  time,  ran  from  Sadler's  Wells  to  the 
Opera-house  in  fourteen  minutes,  meeting  with  no  other  inter- 
ruption ^  by  the  way  than  one  which  occurred  at  the  corner  of 
Lincoln's  Inn  Fields,  where  they  unfortunately  ran  against  and 
overturned  an  infirm  old  lady,  without  having  time  enough  to 
pick  her  up  again.  After  Grimaldi's  business  at  the  Opera- 
house  was  over,  (he  had  merely  to  walk  in  the  procession  in 
Cymon,)  he  ran  back  alone  to  Sadler's  Wells  in  thirteen  minutes, 
and  arrived  just  in  time  to  dress  for  Clown  in  the  concluding 

t  For  some  years  his  life  went  on  quietly  enough,  possessing  very 
little  of  anecdote  or  interest  beyond  his  steady  and  certain  rise 


in  his  profession  and  in  the  estimation  of  the  public,  which, 
although  very  important  to  him  from  the  money  ne  afterwards 
gained  by  it,  and  to  the  public  from  the  amusement  which  his 
peculiar  excellence  yielded  them  for  so  many  years,  offers  no 
material  for  our  present  purpose.  This  gradual  progress  in  the 
good  opinion  of  the  town  exercised  a  material  influence  on  his 
receipts ;  for,  in  1794,  his  salary  at  Drury  Lane  was  trebled, 
while  his  salary  at  Sadler's  Wells  had  risen  from  three  shillings 
per  week  to  four  pounds.  He  lodged  in  Great  Wild-street  with 
his  mother  all  this  time:  their  landlord  had  died,  and  the 
widow's  daughter,  from  accompanying  Mrs.  Grimaldi*to  Sadler's 
Wells  theatre,  had  formed  an  acquaintance  with,  and  married 
Mr.  Robert  Fairbrother,  of  that  establishment,  and  Drury  Lane, 
upon  which  Mrs.  Bailey,  the  widow,  took  Mr.  Fairbrother  into 
partnership  as  a  furrier,  in  which  pursuit,  by  industry  and  per- 
severance, ne  became  eminently  successful. 

This  circumstance  would  be  scarcely  worth  mentioning,  but 
that  it  shows  the  industry  and  perseverance  of  Grimaldi,  and 
the  ease  with  which,  by  the  exercise  of  those  qualities,  a  very 
young  person  may  overcome  all  the  disadvantages  and  tempta- 
tions incidental  to  the  most  precarious  walk  of  a  precarious 
pursuit,  and  become  a  useful  and  respectable  member  of  society. 
He  earned  many  a  guinea  from  Mr.  Fairbrother  by  working  at 
his  trade,  and  availing  himself  of  his  instruction  in  his  leisure 
hours  ;  and  when  he  could  do  nothing  in  that  way,  he  would  go 
to  Newton- street,  and  assist  his  uncle  and  cousin,  the  carcase 
butchers,  for  nothing ;  such  was  his  unconquerable  antipathy  to 
being  idle.  He  does  not  inform  us,  whether  it  required  a  prac- 
tical knowledge  of  trade,  to  display  that  skill  and  address  with 
which,  in  his  subsequent  prosperity,  he  would  diminish  the 
joints  of  his  customers  as  a  baker,  or  increase  the  weight  of  their 
meat  as  a  butcher,  but  we  hope,  for  the  credit  of  trade,  that  his 
morals  in  this  respect  were  wholly  imaginary. 

These  were  his  moments  of  occupation,  but  he  contrived  to 
find  moments  of  amusement  besides,  which  were  devoted  to 
the  breeding  of  pigeons,  and  collecting  of  insects,  which  latter 
amusement  he  pursued  with  such  success,  as  to  form  a  cabinet 
containing  no  fewer  than  4000  specimens  of  flies,  "  collected,"  he 
says,  "  at  the  expense  of  a  great  deal  of  time,  a  great  deal  of 
money,  and  a  great  deal  of  vast  and  actual  labour,"— for  all  of 
which,  no  doubt,  the  entomologist  will  deem  him  sufficiently 
rewarded.  He  appears  in  old  age  to  have  entertained  a  peculiar 
relish  for  the  recollection  of  these  pursuits,  and  calls  to  mind  a 
part  of  Surrey  where  there  was  a  very  famous  fly,  and  a  part  of 
Kent  where  there  was  another  famous  fly ;  one  of  these  was 
called  the  Camberwell  Beauty  (which  he  adds  was  very  ugly), 
and  another,  the  Dartford  Blue,  by  which  Dartford  Blue  he 
seems  to  have  set  great  store ;  and  which  were  pursued  and 
*  Mrs.  Brooker. 


caught  in  the  manner  following,  in  June,  1794,  when  they  regu- 
larly make  their  first  appearance  for  the  season. 

Being  engaged  nightly  at  Sadler's  Wells,  he  was  obliged  to 
wait  till  he  had  finished  his  business  upon  the  stage  :  then  he 
returned  home,  had  supper,  and  shortly  after  midnight  started 
off"  to  walk  to  Dartford,  fifteen  miles  from  town.  Here  he 
arrived  about  five  o'clock  in  the  morning,  and  calling  upon  a 
friend  of  the  name  of  Brooks,  who  lived  in  the  neighbourhood, 
and  who  was  already  stirring,  he  rested,  breakfasted,  and  sallied 
forth  into  the  fields.  His  search  was  not  very  profitable,  however, 
for  after  some  hours  he  only  succeeded  in  bagging,  or  bottling,  one 
"  Dartford  Blue,"  with  which  he  returned  to  his  friend  perfectly 
satisfied.  At  one  o'clock  he  bade  his  friend  good  by,  walked 
back  to  town,  reached  London  by  five,  washed,  took  tea,  and 
hurried  to  Sadler's  Wells.  No  time  was  to  be  lost— the  fact  of 
the  appearance  of  the  "Dartford  Blues"  having  been  thoroughly 
established — in  securing  more  specimens ;  so  on  the  same  night, 
directly  the  pantomime  was  over,  and  supper  over,  too,  oft  he 
walked  down  to  Dartford  again,  found  the  friend  up  again, 
took  a  hasty  breakfast  again,  and  resumed  his  search  again. 
Meeting  with  better  sport,  and  capturing  no  fewer  than  four 
dozen  Dartford  Blues,  he  hurried  back  to  the  friend's ;  set  them 
— an  important  process,  which  consists  in  placing  the  insects  in 
the  position  in  which  their  natural  beauty  can  be  best  displayed 
—started  off  with  the  Dartford  Blues  in  his  pocket  for  London 
once  more,  reached  home  by  four  o'clock  in  the  afternoon, 
washed,  and  took  a  hasty  meal,  and  then  went  to  the  theatre  for 
the  evening's  performance. 

As  not  half  the  necessary  number  of  Blues  had  been  taken, 
he  had  decided  upon  another  visit  to  Dartford  that  same  night, 
and  was  consequently  much  pleased  to  find  that,  from  some  un- 
foreseen circumstance,  the  pantomime  was  to  be  played  first. 
By  this  means  he  was  enabled  to  leave  London  at  nine  o'clock, 
to  reach  Dartford  at  one,  to  find  a  bed  and  supper  ready,  to 
meet  a  kind  reception  from  his  friend,  and  finally  to  turn  into 
bed,  a  little  tired  with  the  two  days'  exertions.  The  next  day  was 
Sunday,  so  that  he  could  indulge  himself  without  being  obliged 
to  return  to  town,  and  in  the  morning  he  caught  more  Hies  than 
he  wanted ;  so  the  rest  of  the  day  was  devoted  to  quiet  sociality. 
He  went  to  bed  at  ten  o'clock,  rose  early  next  morning,  walked 
comfortably  to  town,  and  at  noon  was  perfect  in  his  part,  at  the 
rehearsal  on  the  stage  at  Drury  Lane  theatre. 

It  is  probable  that  by  such  means  as  these,  united  to  tem- 
perance and  sobriety,  Grimaldi  acquired  many  important  bodily 
requisites  for  the  perfection  which  he  afterwards  attained.  But 
his  love  of  entomology,  or  exercise,  was  not  the  only  induce- 
ment in  the  case  of  the  Dartford  Blues ;  he  had,  he  says,  another 
strong  motive,  and  this  was,  the  having  promised  a  little  collec- 
tion of  insects  to  "  one  of  the  most  charming  women  of  her 


age," — the  lamented  Mrs.  Jordan,  at  that  time  a  member  of  the 
Drury  Lane  company. 

Upon  one  occasion  he  had  held  under  his  arm,  during  a  morn- 
ing rehearsal,  a  box  containing  some  specimens  of  Hies :  Mrs. 
Jordan  was  much  interested  to  know  what  could  possibly  be  in 
the  box  that  Grimaldi  carried  about  with  him  with  so  much 
care,  and  would  not  lose  sight  of  for  an  instant,  and  in  reply  to 
her  inquiry  whether  it  contained  anything  pretty,  he  replied  by 
exhibiting  the  Hies. 

He  does  not  say  whether  these  particular  flies,  which  Mrs. 
Jordan  admired,  were  Dartford  Blues,  or  not ;  but  he  gives  us 
to  understand,  that  his  skill  in  preserving  and  arranging  in- 
sects was  really  very  great ;  that  all  this  trouble  and  fatigue 
were  undertaken  in  a  spirit  of  respectful  gallantry  to  the  most 
winning  person  of  her  time ;  and  that,  having  requested  per- 
mission previously,  he  presented  two  frames  of  insects  to  Mrs. 
Jordan,  on  the  first  day  of  the  new  season,  and  immediately 
after  she  had  finished  the  rehearsal  of  Rosalind  in  "  As  you  like 
it;"  that  Mrs.  Jordan  was  delighted,  that  he  was  ^  at  least 
equally  so,  that  she  took  the  frames  away  in  her  carriage,  and 
Warmed  his  heart  by  telling  him  that  his  Royal  Highness  the 
Duke  of  Clarence  considered  the  flies  equal,  if  not  superior,  to 
any  of  the  kind  he  had  ever  seen. 

His  only  other  companion  in  these  trips,  besides  his  Dartford 
friend,  was  Robert  Gomery,  or  "  friend-  Bob,"  as  he  was  called 
by  his  intimates,  at  that  time  an  actor  at  Sadler's  Wells,*  and 
for  many  years  afterwards  a  public  favourite  at  the  various 
minor  theatres  of  the  metropolis ;  who  is  now,  or  was  lately, 
enjoying  a  handsome  independence  at  Bath.  With  this  friend 
he  had  a  little  adventure,  which  it  was  his  habit  to  relate  with 
great  glee. 

One  day,  he  had  been  fly-hunting  with  his  friend,  from  early 
morning  until  night,  thinking  of  nothing  but  flies,  until  at 
length  their  thoughts  naturally  turning  to  something  more  sub- 
stantial, they  halted  for  refreshment. 

"  Bob,"  said  Grimaldi,  "  I  am  very  hungry." 

"  So  am  I,"  said  Bob. 

"  There  is  a  public-house,"  said  Grimaldi. 

"  It  is  just  tne  very  thing,"  observed  the  other. 

It  was  a  very  neat  public-house,  and  would  have  answered 
the  purpose  admirably,  but  Grimaldi  having  no  money,  and 
very  much  doubting  whether  his  friend  had  either,  did  not 
respond  to  the  sentiment  quite  so  cordially  as  he  might  have 

"  We  had  better  go  in,"  saiii  the  friend ;  "  it  is  getting  late — 
you  pay." 

*  "  Friend  Bob"  was  not  employed  at  Sadler's  Wells  till  three  years  later  than 
1794,  when  he  personated,  on  May  29,  1797.  or«  of  the  Spahis  in  Tom  Dibdin'B 
"  Sadak  and  Kalasrade." 


"  JSTo,  no !  you." 

"  I  would  in  a  minute,"  said  his  friend,  "  but  I  have  not  got 
any  money." 

Grimalai  thrust  his  hand  into  his  right  pocket  with  one  of  his 
queerest  faces,  then  into  his  left,  then  into  his  coat  pockets,  then 
into  his  waistcoat,  and  finally  took  off  his  hat  and  looked  into 
that ;  but  there  was  no  money  anywhere. 

They  still  walked  on  towards  the  public-house,  meditating 
with  rueful  countenances,  when  Grimaldi  spying  something 
lying  at  the  foot  of  a  tree,  picked  it  up,  and  suddenly  exclaimed, 
with  a  variety  of  winks  and  nods,  "  Here's  a  sixpence." 

The  hungry  friend's  eyes  brightened,  but  they  quickly  re- 
sumed their  gloomy  expression  as  he  rejoined,  "  It's  a  piece  of 
tin  I" 

Grimaldi  winked  again,  rubbed  the  sixpence  or  the  piece  of 
tin  very  hard,  and  declared,  putting  it  between  his  teeth  by 
way  of  test,  that  it  was  as  good  a  sixpence  as  he  would  wish  to 

"  I  don't  think  it,"  said  the  friend,  shaking  his  head. 

"  I'll  tell  you  what,"  said  Grimaldi,  "  we'll  go  to  the  public- 
house,  and  ask  the  landlord  whether  it's  a  good  one,  or  not. 
They  always  know." 

To  this  the  friend  assented,  and  they  hurried  on,  disputing  all 
the  way  whether  it  was  really  a  sixpence,  or  not ;  a  discovery 
which  could  not  be  made  at  that  time,  when  the  currency  was 
defaced  and  worn  nearly  plain,  with  the  ease  with  which  it 
could  be  made  at  present. 

The  publican,  a  fat,  jolly  fellow,  was  standing  at  his  door, 
talking  to  a  friend,  and  the  house  looked  so  uncommonly  com- 
fortable^ that  Gomery  whispered  as  they  approached,  that 
perhaps  it  might  be  best  to  have  some  bread  and  cheese  first, 
and  ask  about  the  sixpence  afterwards. 

Grimaldi  nodded  his  entire  assent,  and  they  went  in  and 
ordered  some  bread  and  cheese,  and  beer.  Having  taken  the 
edge  off  their  ^hunger,  they  tossed  up  a  farthing  which  Grimaldi 
happened  to  find  in  the  corner  of  some  theretofore  undiscovered 
pocket,  to  determine  who  should  present  the  "  sixpence."  The 
chance  falling  on  himself,  he  walked  up  to  the  bar,  and  with  a 
very  lofty  air,  and  laying  the  questionable  metal  down  with  a 
dignity  quite  his  own,  requested  the  landlord  to  take  the  bill 
out  of  that. 

"  Just  right,  sir,"  said  the  landlord,  looking  at  the  strange 
face  that  his  customer  assumed,  and  not  at  the  sixpence. 

"  It's  right,  sir,  is  it  r"  asked  Grimaldi,  sternly. 

"Quite,"  answered  the  landlord;  "thank  ye,  gentlemen.5* 
And  with  this  he  slipped  the— whatever  it  was— into  his  pocket. 

Gomery  looked  at  Grimaldi,  and  Grimaldi,  with  a  look  and 
air  which  baffle  all  description,  walked  out  of  the  house,  followed 
by  his  friend. 



"  I  never  knew  anything  so  lucky/'  he  said,  as  they  walked 
home  to  supper — "it  was  quite  a  Providence — that  sixpence." 

"  A  piece  of  tin,  you  mean,"  said  Gromery. 

Which  of  the  two  it  was,  is  uncertain,  but  Grimaldi  often 
patronised  the  same  house  afterwards,  and  as  he  never  heard 
anything  more  about  the  matter,  he  felt  quite  convinced  that  it 
was  a  real  good  sixpence. 

In  the  early  part  of  the  year  1794,  they  quitted  their  lodgings 
in  Great  Wild-street,  and  took  a  six-roomed  house,  in  Penton- 
place,  Pentonville,  with  a  garden  attached ;  a  part  of  this  they 
let  off  to  a  Mr.  and  Mrs.  Lewis,  who  then  belonged  to  Sadler's 
Wells ;  and  in  this  manner  they  lived  £or  three  years,  during 
the  whole  of  which  period  his  salaries  steadily  rose  in  amount, 
and  he  began  to  consider  himself  quite  independent. 

At  Easter,*  Sadler's  Wells  opened  as  usual,  and  making  a 
great  hit  in  a  new  part,  his  fame  rapidly  increased.  At  this 
time  he  found  a  new  acquaintance,  which  exercised  a  material 
influence  upon  his  comfort  and  happiness  for  many  years.  The 
intimacy  commenced  thus : — 

When  there  was  a  rehearsal  at  Sadler's  Wells,  his  mother, 
who  was  engaged  there  as  well  as  himself,  was  in  the  habit  of 

*  On  Easter  Monday,  1796,  Sadler's  "Wells  opened  with  Tom  Dibdin's  Serio- 
Comic  Entertainment  called  "  The  Talisman  of  Orosmanes  ;  or,  Harlequin  made 
Happy."  Grimaldi  enacted  the  part  of  the  Hag  Morad ;  the  principal  characters 
in  the  action  being  King,  Dibdin,  the  author,  his  second  season ;  Dubois,  Master 
Grimaldi,  as  he  was  then  designated  in  the  bills,  and  Mrs.  Wybrow.  Having 
in  such  company  made  a  hit  in  this  part,  his  fame  rapidly  increased ;  and  in 
the  new  Harlequinade  Burletta,  entitled  "Venus's  Girdle;  or,  the  World 
Bewitched,"  produced  on  the  1st  of  August  in  that  year,  Master  Grimaldi 
played  the  part  of  the  Old  Woman;  his  mother,  Mrs.  Brooker,  Lady  Simpleton. 
These  entertainments  ran  through  the  whole  season. 

It  may  not  be  out  of  place  to  notice  that  Philip  Astley  this  year  announced 
as  attractions  at  his  Amphitheatre  of  Arts,  Westminster  Bridge,  "  The  most 
splendid  Variety  of  Novel  Amusements  ever  produced,  and  which  have  been 
composed  and  arranged  by  the  following  celebrated  persons, — viz. 

"  Mons.  Mercerot,  principal  Pastoral  Dancer,  Ballet  Master,  and  Pantomime 

"  Mons.  Laurent,  Performer  of  Action,  Pierrot,  and  Pantomime  Composer. 

"  Mr.  West,  Ballet  Master,  principal  Buffo  Dancer,  Clown,  and  Pantomime 

"  Mr.  Lassells  Williamson,  Ballet  Master,  principal  Comic  Dancer,  Harlequin, 
and  Pantomime  Composer.  The  above  are  the  only  Pupils  of  the  late  cele- 
brated Signor  Grimaldi. 

The  bills  added,  "Messrs.  Astleys  most  respectfully  beg  leave  to  remark, 
that  there  never  was  at  any  Public  Place  of  Entertainment  so  many  Ballet 
Masters,  Pantomime  Composers,  &c.,  ensaged  at  one  and  the  same  time,  pos- 
sessing abilities  equal  to  the  above  performers ;  their  exertions  joined  to  those  of 
Messrs.  Astleys,  must  enable  them  to  give  a  greater  variety  than  any  other 
Public  Place  of  Summer  Amusement." 

Williamson  was  not  only  the  pupil  of  Signor  Grimaldi,  but  was  also  his  son- 
in-law,  having  married  Joe's  sister,  who  was  announced  with  him  in  the  Sadler's 
Wells  bills  in  1781,  as  Miss  Grimaldi;  she  was  engaged  with  her  husband  as 
Mrs.  Williamson  at  Astley's,  and  appears  among  the  Wizards  and  Witches,  in 
the  Dramatis  Personse  of  the  Grand  Comic  Pantomime,  called  "The  Ma- 
gician of  the  Rocks ;  or,  Harlequin  in  London,"  produced  there  on  Whitsun 
Monday.  "  Clown,  Mr.  West,  after  the  manner  of  his  old  Master,  Grimaldi." 


remaining  at  the  theatre  all  day,  taking  her  meals  in  her  dress- 
ing-room, and  occupying  herself  with  needle-work.  This  she 
had  done  to  avoid  the  long  walk  in  the  middle  of  the  day  from 
Sadler's  Wells  to  Great  Wild-street,  and  back  again  almost 
directly.  It  became  a  habit ;  and  when  they  had  removed  to 
Penton-place,  and  consequently  were  so  much  nearer  the  theatre 
that  it  was  no  longer  necessary,  it  still  continued.  Mr.  Hughes, 
who  had  now  become  principal  proprietor  of  the  theatre,  and 
who  lived  in  the  l^use  attached  to  it,  had  several  children,  the 
eldest  of  whom  was  Miss  Maria  Hughes,  a  young  lady  of  con- 
siderable accomplishments,  who  had  always  been  much  attached 
to  Grimaldi's  mother,  and  who  embraced  every  _  opportunity  of 
being  in  her  society.  Knowing  the  hours  at  which  she  was  in 
the  dressing-room  during  the  day,  Miss  Hughes  was  in  the 
habit  of  taking  her  work,  and  sitting  with  her  from  three  or 
four  o'clock  until  six,  when  the  other  female  performers  begin- 
ning to  arrive,  she  retired.  Grimaldi  was  generally  at  the 
theatre  between  four  and  five,  always  taking  tea  with  his  mother 
at  the  last-named  hour,  and  sitting  with  her  until  the  arrival  of 
the  ladies  broke  up  the  little  party.  In  this  way  an  intimacy 
arose  between  Miss  Hughes  and  himself,  which  ultimately 
ripened  into  feelings  of  a  warmer  nature. 

The  day  after  he  made  his  great  hit  in  the  new  piece,  he  went 
as  usual  to  tea  in  the  dressing-room,  where  Mrs.  Lewis,  their 
lodger,  who  was  the  wardrobe-keeper  of  the  theatre,  happening 
to  be  present,  overwhelmed  him  with  complim'ents  on  his  great 
success.  Miss  Hughes  was  there  too,  but  she  said  nothing  for  a 
long  time,  and  Grimaldi,  who  would  rather  have  heard  her 
speak  for  a  minute  than  Mrs.  Lewis  for  an  hour,  listened  as 
patiently  as  he  could  to  the  encomiums  which  the  good  woman 
lavished  upon  him.  At  length  she  stopped,  as  the  best  talkers 
must  now  and  then,  to  take  breath,  and  then  Miss  Hughes, 
looking  up,  said,  with  some  hesitation,  that  she  thought  Mr. 
Grimaldi  had  played  the  part  uncommonly  well ;  so  well  that  she 
was  certain  there  was  no  one  who  could  have  done  it  at  all  like  him. 

Now,  before  he  went  into  the  room,  he  had  turned  the  matter 
over  in  his  mind,  and  had  come  to  the  conclusion  that  if  Mis? 
Hughes  praised  his  acting  he  would  reply  by  some  neatly  turned 
compliment  to  her,  which  might  afford  some  hint  of  the  state  of 
his  feelings ;  and  with  this  view  he  had  considered  of  a  good 
many  very  smart  ones,  but  somehow  or  other,  the  young  lady 
no  sooner  opened  her  lips  in  speech,  than  Grimaldi  opened  his  in 
admiration,  and  out  new  all  the  compliments  in  empty  breath, 
without  producing  the  slightest  sound.  He  turned  very  red, 
looked  very  funny,  and  felt  very  foolish.  At  length  he  made  an 
awkward  bow,  and  turned  to  leave  the  room. 

It  was  six  o'clock,  and  the  lady  performers  just  then  came  in. 
As  he  was  always  somewhat  of  a  favourite  among  them,  a  few  of 
the  more  volatile  and  giddy — for  there  are  a  few  such,  in  almost 


all  companies,  theatrical  or  otherwise, — began  first  to  praise  hia 
acting1,  and  then  to  rally  him  upon  another  subject. 

"  Now  Joe  has  become  such  a  favourite,"  said  one,  "  he  ought 
to  look  out  for  a  sweetheart." 

Here  Joe  just  glanced  at  Miss  Hughes,  and  turned  a  deeper 
red  than  ever. 

"  Certainly  he  ought,"  said  another.  "  Will  any  of  ns  do 
Joe  ?" 

Upon  this  Joe  exhibited  fresh  symptoms  of  being  uncomfort- 
able, which  were  hailed  by  a  general  burst  of  laughter. 

"I'll  tell  you  what,  ladies,"  said  Mrs.  Lewis,  "if  I'm  not 
greatly  mistaken,  Joe  has  got  a  sweetheart  already." 

Another  lady  said,  that  to  her  certain  knowledge  he  had  two, 
and  another  that  he  had  three,  and  so  on:  he  standing:  amon? 
them  the  whole  time,  with  his  eyes  fixed  upon  the  ground,  vexed 
to  death  to  think  that  Miss  Hughes  should  hear  these  libels, 
and  frightened  out  of  his  wits  lest  she  should  be  disposed  to 
believe  them. 

At  length  he  made  his  escape,  and  being  induced,  by  the  con- 
versation which  had  just  passed,  to  ponder  upon  the  matter,  he 
was  soon  led  to  the  conclusion  that  the  fair  daughter  of  Mr. 
Hughes  had  made  an  impression  on  his  heart,  and  that,  unless 
he  could  marry  her,  he  would  marry  nobody,  and  must  be  for 
ever  miserable,  with  other  like  deductions  which  young  men  are 
in  the  habit  of  making  from  similar  premises.  The  discovery 
was  not  unattended  by  many  misgivings.  The  great  difference 
of  station,  then  existing  between  them,  appeared  to  interpose  an 
almost  insurmountable  obstacle  in  the  way  of  their  marriage ; 
and,  further,  he  had  no  reason  to  suppose  that  the  young  lady 
entertained  for  him  any  other  sentiments  than  those  with  which 
she  might  be  naturally  disposed  to  regard  the  son  of  a  friend 
whom  she  had  known  so  long.  These  considerations  rendered 
him  as  unhappy  as  the  most  passionate  lover  could  desire  to  be  • 
he  ate  little,  drank  little,  slept  less,  lost  his  spirits ;  and,  in 
short,  exhibited  a  great  variety  of  symptoms  sufficiently  dan- 
gerous in  any  case,  but  particularly  so  in  one,  where  the  patient 
had  mainly  to  depend  upon  the  preservation  of  his  powers  of 
fun  and  comicality  for  a  distant  chance  of  the  fulfilment  of  hia 



1794  to  1797. 

Grimaldi  falls  in  love— His  success — He  meets  with  an  accident,  which  brings 
the  Reader  acquainted  with  that  invaluable  specific,  "  Grimaldi's  Embro- 
cation"— He  rises  gradually  in  his  Profession — The  Pentonville  Gang  of 

IT  is  scarcely  to  be  supposed  that  such,  a  sudden  and  complete 
change  in  the  merry  genius  of  the  theatre  could  escape  the 
observation  of  those  around  him,  far  less  of  his  mother,  who,  as 
he  had  been  her  constant  and  affectionate  companion,  observed 
him  with  anxious  solicitude.  Various  hints  and  soundings,  and 
indirect  inquiries,  were  the  consequence,  but  they  were  far  from 
eliciting  the  truth ;  he  was  ill,  fatigued  by  constant  exertion  in 
difficult  parts,  and  that  was  all  that  his  friends  could  gather 
from  him. 

There  was  another  circumstance  which  puzzled  the  lady 
mother  more  than  all.  This  was,  that  he  never  visited  the 
dressing-room,  whither  he  had  been  accustomed  regularly  tc 
resort ;  and  that  he  either  took  tea  before  he  went  to  the  theatre, 
or  not  at  all.  The  truth  was,  that  he  was  quite  unable  to 
endure  the  facetiousness  of  the  ladies  in  the  presence  of  Miss 
Hughes ;  the  more  so,  because  he  fancied  that  his  annoyance 
seemed  to  afford  that  young  lady  considerable  amusement ;  and 
rather  than  find  this  the  case,  he  determined  to  relinquish  the 
pleasure  of  her  society. 

So  matters  stood  for  some  weeks,  when  one  night,  having 
occasion  during  the  performances  to  repair  to  the  wardrobe  for 
some  _  articles  of  dress,  he  hastily  entered,  and  instead  of  dis- 
covering his  old  friend,  Mrs.  Lewis,  found  himself  confronted 
and  alone  with  Mr.  Hughes's  daughter. 

In  these  cases,  if  the  lady  exhibit  emotion,  the  gentleman 
gains  courage  ;  but  Miss  Hughes  exhibited  no  emotion,  merely 

"  Why,  Joe,  I  have  not  seen  you  for  a  fortnight ;  where  have 
you  been  hiding  !    How  is  it  that  I  never  see  you  at  tea  now  ?" 
The  tone  of  kindness  in  which  this  was  said,  somewhat  re- 
assured the  lover,  so  he  made  an  effort  to  speak,  and  got  as  far 
as,  "  I'm  not  well." 


"  Not  well !"  said  the  young  lady.  And  she  said  it  so  kindly 
that  all  poor  Joe's  emotion  returned ;  and  being  really  ill  ana 
weak,  ana  very  sensitive  withal,  he  made  an  eifort  or  two  to 
look  cheerful,  and  burst  into  tears. 

The  young  lady  looked  at  him  for  a  moment  or  two  quite 
surprised,  and  then  said,  in  a  tone  of  earnest  commiseration, 
"I  see  that  you  are  not  well,  and  that  you  are  very  much 
changed :  what  is  the  matter  with  you  ?  Pray  tell  me." 

At  this  inquiry,  the  young  man,  who  seems  to  have  inherited 
all  the  sensitiveness  of  his  father's  character  without  its  worst 
points,  threw  himself  into  a  chair,  and  cried  like  a  child,  vainly 
endeavouring  to  stammer  out  a  few  words,  which  were  wholly 
unintelligible.  Miss  Hughes  gently  endeavoured  to  soothe  him, 
and  at  that  moment,  Mrs.  Lewis,  suddenly  entering  the  room, 
surprised  them  in  this  very  sentimental  situation  ;  upon  which 
Grimaldi,  thinking  he  must  have  made  himself  very  ridiculous, 
jumped  up  and  ran  away. 

Mrs.  Lewis  being  older  in  years,  and  in  such  matters  too,  than 
either  Miss  Hughes  or  her  devoted  admirer,  kept  her  own 
counsel,  thought  over  what  she  had  seen,  and  discreetly  pre- 
sented herself  before  Grimaldi  next  day,  when,  after  a  sleepless 
night,  he  was  sauntering  moodily  about  the  garden,  aggravating- 
all  the  doubts,  and  diminishing  all  the  hopes  that  involved 
themselves  with  the  object  nearest  his  heart. 

"  Dear  me,  Joe  !"  exclaimed  the  old  lady,  "  how  wretched  you 
do  look  1  Why,  what  is  the  matter  ? " 

He  tried  an  excuse  or  two,  but  reposing  great  trust  in  the 
sagacity  and  sincerity  of  his  questioner,  and  sadly  wanting  a 
confidante,  he  first  solemnly  bound  her  to  secrecy,  and  then  told 
his  tale.  Mrs.  Lewis  at  once  took  upon  herself  the  office  of  a 
go-between ;  undertook  to  sound  Miss  Hughes  without  delay  ; 
and  counselled  Grimaldi  to  prepare  a  letter  containing  a  full 
statement  of  his  feelings,  which,  if  the  conversation  between 
herself  and  Miss  Hughes  on  that  very  evening  were  propitious, 
should  be  delivered  on  the  following. 

Accordingly,  he  devoted  all  his  leisure  time  that  day  to  the 
composition  of  various  epistles,  and  the  spoiling  of  many  sheets 
of  paper,  with  the  view  to  setting  down  his  feelings  in  the  very 
best  and  appropriate  terms  he  could  po'ssibly  employ.  One  com- 
plete letter  was  finished  at  last,  although  even  that  was  not  half 
powerful  enough ;  and  going  to  the  theatre,  and  carefully  avoid- 
ing the  old  dressing-room,  he  went  through  his  part  with 
greater  eclat  than  before.  Having  hastily  changed  his  dress,  he 
hurried  to  Mrs.  Lewis's  room,  where  that  good  lady  at  once 
detailed  all  the  circumstances  that  had  occurred  since  the  morn- 
ing, which  she  thought  conclusive,  but  which  the  lover  feared 
were  not. 

It  seems  that  Mrs.  Lewis  had  embraced  the  first  opportunity 
of  being  left  alone  with  Miss  Hughes  to  return  to  the  old  sub- 


ject  of  Joe's  looking  very  ill ;  to  which  Miss  Hughes  replied, 
that  he  certainly  did,  and  said  it,  too,  according  to  the  matured 
opinion  of  Mrs.  "Lewis,  as  if  she  had  been  longing  to  introduce 
the  subject  without  exactly  knowing  how. 

"  What  can  be  the  matter  with  him  ?"  said  Miss  Hughes. 

"  I  have  found  it  out,  Miss,"  said  Mrs.  Lewis ;  "  Joe  is  in 

"  In  love ! "  said  Miss  Hughes. 

"  Over  head  and  ears,"  replied  Mrs.  Lewis ;  "  I  never  saw  any 
poor  dear  young  man  in  such  a  state." 

"Who  is  the  lady?"  asked  Miss  Hughes,  inspecting  some 
object  that  lay  near  her  with  every  appearance  of  unconcern. 

"  That's  a  secret,"  said  Mrs.  Lewis ;  "  I  know  her  name  ;  she 
does  not  know  he  is  in  love  with  her  yet ;  but  I  am  going  to  give 
her  a  letter  to-morrow  night,  telling  her  all  about  it." 

"  I  should  like  to  know  her  name,"  said  Miss  Hughes. 

"Why, "returned  Mrs.  Lewis,  "you  see  I  promised  Joe  not 
to  tell ;  but  as  you  are  so  very  anxious  to  know,  I  can  let  you 
into  the  secret  without  breaking  my  word :  you  shall  see  the 
direction  of  the  letter." 

Miss  Hughes  was  quite  delighted  with  the  idea,  and  left  the 
room,  after  making  an  appointment  for  the  ensuing  evening  for 
that  purpose. 

Such  was  Mrs.  Lewis's  tale  in  brief;  after  hearing  which, 
Gbrimaldi,  who,  not  being  so  well  acquainted  with  the  subject, 
was  not  so  sanguine,  went  home  to  bed,  but  not  to  sleep  :  his 
thoughts  wavering  between  his  friend's  communication,  and  the 
love-letter,  of  which  he  could  not  help  thinking  that  he  could 
still  polish  up  a  sentence  or  two  with  considerable  advantage. 

The  next  morning  was  one  of  great  agitation,  and  when  Mrs. 
Lewis  posted  off  to  the  theatre  with  the  important  epistle  in  her 
pocket,  the  lover  fell  into  such  a  tremor  of  anxiety  and  suspense, 
that  he  was  quite  unconscious  how  the  day  passed :  he  could 
stay  away  from  the  theatre  no  longer  than  five  o'clock,  at  which 
time  he  hurried  down  to  ascertain  the  fate  of  his  letter. 

"  I  have  not  been  able  to  give  it  yet,"  said  Mrs.  Lewis,  softly, 
"  but  do  you  just  go  to  the  dressing-room  ;  she  is  there : — only 
look  at  her,  and  guess  whether  she  cares  for  you  or  not." 

He  went,  and  saw  Miss  Hughes  looking  very  pale,  with  traces 
of  tears  on  her  face.  Six  o'clock  soon  came,  and  the  young  ladyt 
hurrying  to  the  room  of  the  confidante,  eagerly  inquired  whether 
she  had  got  Joe's  letter. 

"  I  have,"  said  Mrs.  Lewis,  looking  very  sly. 

" Oh !  pray  let  me  see  it,"  said  Miss  Hughes :  "I  am  so 
anxious  to  know  who  the  lady  is,  and  so  desirous  that  Joe  should 
be  happy." 

"  Why,  upon  my  word,"  said  Mrs.  Lewis,  "  I  think  I  should 
be  doing  wrong  if  I  showed  it  to  you,  unless  Joe  said  I  might." 
"  Wrong !"  echoed  the  young  lady ;  "  oh !  if  you  only  knew 


how  much  I  have  suffered  since  last  night !"  Here  she  paused 
for  some  moments,  and  added,  with  some  violence  of  tone  and 
manner,  that  if  that  suspense  lasted  much  longer,  she  should  go 

"Hey-day!  Miss  Maria,"  exclaimed  Mrs.  Lewis, — "mad! 
Why,  surely  you  cannot  have  been  so  imprudent  as  to  have 
formed  an  attachment  to  Joe  yourself?  But  you  shall  see  the 
letter,  as  you  wish  it ;  there  is  only  one  thing  you  must  promise, 
and  that  is,  to  plead  Joe's  cause  with  the  lady  herself." 

Miss  Hughes  hesitated,  faltered,  and  at  length  said,  she  would 

At  this  point  of  the  discourse,  Mrs.  Lewis  produced  the  la- 
boured composition,  and  placed  it  in  her  hand. 

Miss  Hughes  raised  the  letter,  glanced  at  the  direction,  saw 
her  own  name  written  as  plainly  as  the  nervous  fingers  of  its 
agitated  writer  would  permit,  let  it  fall  to  the  ground,  and  sunk 
into  the  arms  of  Mrs.  Lewis. 

While  this  scene  was  acting  in  a  private  room,  Grimaldi  was 
acting  upon  the  public  stage  ;  and  conscious  that  his  hopes  de- 
pended upon  his  exertions,  he  did  not  suffer  his  anxieties,  great 
as  they  were,  to  interfere  with  his  performance.  Towards  the 
conclusion  of  the  first  piece  he  heard  somebody  enter  Mr. 
Hughes' s  box — and  there  sat  the  object  of  all  his  anxiety. 

"  She  has  got  the  letter,"  thought  the  trembling  actor  ;  "  she 
must  have  decided  by  this  time." 

He  would  have  given  all  he  possessed  to  have  known  what 
had  passed,— when  the  business  of  the  stage  calling  him  to  the 
front,  exactly  facing  the  box  in  which  she  sat,  their  eyes  met, 
and  she  nodded  and  smiled.  This  was  not  the  first  time  that 
Miss  Hughes  had  nodded  and  smiled  to  Joseph  Grimaldi,  but 
it  threw  him  into  a  state  of  confusion  and  agitation  which  at 
once  deprived  him  of  all  consciousness  of  what  he  was  about. 
He  never  heard  that  he  did  not  finish  the  scene  in  which  he  was 
engaged  at  the  moment,  and  he  always  supposed,  in  consequence, 
that  he  did  so :  but  how,  or  in  what  manner,  he  never  could 
imagine,  not  having  the  slightest  recollection  of  anything  that 

It  is  singular  enough  that  throughout  the  whole  of  Ohimaldi's 
existence,  which  was  a  chequered  one  enough,  even  at  those 
years  when  other  children  are  kept  in  the  cradle  or  the  nursery, 
there  always  seemed  some  odd  connexion  between  his  good  and 
bad  fortune ;  no  great  pleasure  appeared  to  come  to  him  un- 
accompanied by  some  accident  or  mischance  :  he  mentions  the 
fact  more  than  once,  and  lays  great  stress  upon  it. 

On  this  very  night,  a  heavy  platform,  on  which  ten  men  were 
standing,  broke  down,  and  fell  upon  him  as  he  stood  underneath ; 
a  severe  contusion  of  the  shoulder  was  the  consequence,  and  he 
was  carried  home  immediately.  Remedies  were  applied  without 
loss  of  time,  but  he  suffere^  intense  pain  all  night ;  it  gradually 



abated  towards  morning,  in  consequence  of  the  inestimable 
virtues  of  a  certain  embrocation,  which  he  always  kept  ready  in 
case  of  such  accidents,  and  which  was  prepared  from  a  recipe 
left  him  by  his  father,  which,  having  performed  a  great  many 
cures,  he  afterwards  gave  to  one  Mr.  Chamberlaine,  a  surgeon 
of  Clerkenwell,  who  christened  it,  in  acknowledgment,  "  Gri- 
maldi's  Embrocation,"  and  used  it  in  his  general  practice  some 
years  with  perfect  success.  Before  he  was  carried  from  the 
theatre,  however,  he  had  had  the  presence  of  mind  to  beg 
Mrs.  Lewis  to  be  called  to  him,  and  to  request  her  to  com- 
municate the  nature  of  the  accident  to  Miss  Hughes  (who 
had  quitted  the  box  before  it  occurred)  as  cautiously  as  she 
could.  This,  Mrs.  Lewis,  who  appears  to  have  been  admirably 
qualified  for  the  task  ^  in  which  she  was  engaged,  and  to  pos- 
sess quite  a  diplomatic  relish  for  negotiation,  undertook  and 

There  is  no  need  to  lengthen  this  part  of  his  history,  which, 
however  interesting,  and  most  honourably  so,  to  the  old  man 
himself,  who  in  the  last  days  of  his  life  looked  back  with  undi- 
minished  interest  and  affection  to  the  early  time  when  he  first 
became  acquainted  with  the  excellence  of  a  lady,  to  whom  he 
was  tenderly  attached,  and  whose  affection  he  never  forgot  or 
trifled  with,  would  possess  but  few  attractions  for  the  general 
reader.  The  main  result  is  quickly  told :  he  was  lying  on  a  sofa 
next  day,  with  his  arm  in  a  sling,  when  Miss  Hughes  visited 
him,  and  did  not  affect  to  disguise  her  solicitude  for  his  recovery  ; 
and,  in  short,  by  returning  his  affection,  made  him  the  happiest 
man,  or  rather  boy  (for  he  was  not  yet  quite  sixteen),  in  the 

There  was  only  one  thing  that  damped  his  joy,  and  this  was, 
Miss  Hughes's  firm  and  steadfast  refusal  to  continue  any  corre- 
spondence or  communication  with  him  unknown  to  her  parents. 
Nor  is  it  unnatural  that  this  announcement  should  have  occa- 
sioned him  some  uneasiness,  when  their  relative  situations  in 
life  are  taken  into  consideration  ;  Mr.  Hughes  being  a  man  of 
considerable  property,  and  Grimaldi  entirely  dependent  on  his 
own  exertions  for  support. 

He  made  use  of  every  persuasion  in  his  power  to  induce  th* 
young  lady  to  alter  her  determination  ;  he  failed  to  effect  any- 
thing beyond  the  compromise,  that  for  the  present  she  would 
only  mention  their  attachment  to  her  mother,  upon  whose  kind- 
ness and  secrecy  she  was  certain  she  could  rely.  This  was  done, 
and  Mrs.  Hughes,  finding  that  her  daughter's  happiness  de- 
pended on  her  decision,  offered  no  opposition,  merely,  remarking 
that  their  extreme  youth  forbade  all  idea  of  marriage  at  that 
time.  Three  years  elapsed  before  Mr.  Hughes  was  made  ac- 
quainted with  the  secret. 

After  this,  his  time  passed  away  happily  enough ;  he  saw 
Miss  Hughes  every  evening  in  his  mother's  presence,  and  every 


Sunday  she  spent  with  them.  All  this  time  his  reputation  was 
rapidly  increasing ;  almost  every  new  part  he  played  rendered 
him  a  greater  favourite  than  before,  and  altogether  his  lot  in 
life  was  a  cheerful  and  contented  one. 

At  this  period,  the  only  inhabitants  of  the  house  in  Penton- 
place  were  Grimaldi  and  his  mother,  and  Mrs.  Lewis,  of  whom 
honourable  mention  has  been  so  often  made  in  the  present 
chapter,  together  with  her  husband ;  there  was  no  servant  in  the 
house  ;  a  girl  that  had  lived  with  them  some  time  having  gone 
into  the  country  to  see  her  friends,  and  no  other  having  been 
engaged  in  her  absence. 

One  night  in  the  middle  of  August,  a  "night  rehearsal"  was 
called  at  Sadler's  Wells.  For  the  information  of  those  who  are 
unacquainted  with  theatrical  matters,  it  may  be  well  to  state 
that  a  "  night  rehearsal"  takes  place  after  the  other  performances 
of  the  evening  are  over,  and  the  public  have  left  the  house. 
Being  an  inconvenient  and  fatiguing  ceremony,  it  is  never  re- 
sorted to,  but  when  some  very  heavy  piece  (that  is,  one  on  a 
very  extensive  scale)  is  to  be  produced  on  a  short  notice.  In 
this  instance  a  new  piece  was  to  be  played  on  the  following 
Monday,  of  which  the  performers  knew  very  little,  and  there 
being  no  time  to  lose,  a  "  night  rehearsal"  was  called,  the  natural 
consequence  of  which  would  be  the  detention  of  the  company 
at  the  theatre  until  four  o'clock  in  the  morning  at  least.  Mr. 
Lewis,  having  notice  of  the  rehearsal  in  common  with  the  other 
performers,  locked  up  their  dwelling-house,  being  the  last 
person  who  left  it ;  brought  the  street-door  key  with  him,  and 
nanded  it  over  to  Mr.  Grimaldi. 

But  after  the  performances  were  over,  which  was  shortly  after 
eleven  o'clock,  when  the  curtain  was  raised,  and  the  performers, 
assembling  on  the  stage,  prepared  to  commence  the  rehearsal, 
the  stage-manager  addressed  the  company  in  the  following  un- 
expected and  very  agreeable  terms  : — 

"Ladies  and  Gentlemen,  as  the  new  drama  will  not  be  pro- 
duced, as  was  originally  intended,  on  Monday  next,  but  is  de- 
ferred until  that  night  week,  we  shall  not  be  compelled  to  trouble 
you  with  a  rehearsal  to-night." 

This  notification  occasioned  a  very  quick  dispersion  of  the 
performers,  who,  very  unexpectedly  released  from  an  onerous 
attendance,  hurried  home.  Grimaldi,  having  something  to  do 
at  the  theatre  which  would  occupy  him  about  ten  minutes,  sent 
his  mother  and  his  friend  Mrs.  Lewis  forward  to  prepare  supper, 
and  followed  them  shortly  afterwards,  accompanied  by  Mr 
Lewis  and  two  other  performers  attached  to  the  theatre. 

When  the  females  reached  home  they  found  to  their  great  sur- 
prise that  the  garden  gate  was  open. 

"  Dear  me  !"  said  Mrs.  Grimaldi,*  "how  careless  this  is  of 
Mr.  Lewis !" 

*  Mrs.  Brooker. 


It  was,  undoubtedly  ;  for  at  that  time  a  most  notorious  gang 
of  thieves  infested  that  suburb  of  London; — it  was  a  suburb 
then.  Several  of  the  boldest  had  been  hung,  and  others  trans- 
ported, but  these  punishments  had  no^  effect  upon  their  more 
lucky  companions,  who  committed  their  depredations  with,  if 
possible,  increased  hardihood  and  daring-. 

They  were  not  a  little  surprised,  after  crossing  the  garden,  to 
find  that  not  only  was  the  garden-gate  open,  but  that  the  street- 
door  was  unlocked ;  and  pushing  it  gently  open,  they  observed 
the  reflection  of  a  light  at  the  end  of  the  passage,  upon  which 
of  course  they  both  cried  "  Thieves !"  and  screamed  for  help. 
A  man  who  was  employed  at  Sadler's  Wells  happened  to  be 
passing  at  the  time,  and  tendered  his  assistance. 

"  Do  you  wait  here  with  Mrs.  Lewis  a  minute,"  said  Grimaldi's 
mother,  "  and  I  will  go  into  the  house  ;  don't  mind  me  unless 
you  hear  me  scream ;  then  come  to  my  assistance."  So  saying, 
she  courageously  entered  the  passage,  descended  the  stairs, 
entered  the  kitchen,  hastily  struck  a  light,  and  on  lighting  a 
candle  and  looking  round,  discovered  that  the  place  had  been 
plundered  of  almost  everything  it  contained. 

She  was  running  up  stairs  to  communicate  their  loss,  when 
Grimaldi  and  his  friends  arrived.  Hearing  what  had  occurred, 
they  entered  the  house  in  a  body,  and  proceeded  to  search  it, 
narrowly,  thinking  it  probable  that  some  of  the  thieves,  sur- 
prised upon  the  premises,  might  be  still  lurking  there.  In  they 
rushed,  the  party  augmented  by  the  arrival  of  two  watchmen, — 
chosen,  as  the  majority  of  that  line  body  of  men  invariably  were, 
with  a  specific  view  to  their  old  age  and  infirmities,— and  began 
their  inspection :  the  women  screaming  and  crying,  and  the  men 
all  shouting  together. 

The  house  was  in  a  state  of  great  disorder  and  confusion,  but 
no  thieves  were  to  be  seen;  the  cupboards  were  forced,_the 
drawers  had  been  broken  open,  and  every  article  they  contained 
had  been  removed,  with  the  solitary  exception  of  a  small  net 
shawl,  which  had  been  worked  by  Miss  Hughes,  and  given  by 
her  to  her  chosen  mother-in-law. 

Leaving  the  others^to  search  the  house,  and  the  females^to  be- 
wail their  loss,  which  was  really  a  very  severe  one,  Grimaldi 
beckoned  a  Mr.  King,  one  of  the  persons  who  had  accompanied 
him  home  from  the  theatre,  and  suggested  in  a  whisper  that 
they  should  search  the  garden  together. 

King  readily  complied,  and  he  having  armed  himself  with  a 
heavy  stick,  and  Grimaldi  with  an  old  broad-sword  which  he 
had  hastily  snatched  from  its  peg  on  the  first  alarm,  they  crept 
cautiously  into  the  back  garuen,  which  was  separated  from 
those  of  the  houses  on  either  side  by  a  wall  from  three  to  four 
feet  high,  and  from  a  very  extensive  piece  of  pasture-land  be- 
yond it  at  the  bottom,  by  another  wall  two  or  three  feet  higher. 
It  was  a  dark  night,  and  they  groped  about  the  garden  for 


some  time,  but  found  nobody.  Grimaldi  sprang  upon  the 
higher  wall,  and  looking  over  the  lower  one,  descried  a  man  in 
the  act  of  jumping  from  the  wall  of  the  next  garden.  Upon 
seeing  another  figure  the  robber  paused,  and  taking  it  for  that 
of  his  comrade  in  the  darkness  of  the  night,  cried  softly,  "Hush I 
hush!  is  that  you?" 

"  Yes !"  replied  Grimaldi,  getting  as  near  him  as  he  could. 
Seeing  that  the  man,  recognising  the  voice  as  a  strange  one,  was 
about  to  jump  down,  he  dealt  him  a  heavy  blow  with  the  broad- 
sword. He  yelled  out  loudly,  and  stopping  for  an  instant,  as  if 
in  extreme  pain,  dropped  to  the  ground,  limped  off  a  few  paces, 
and  was  lost  in  the  darkness. 

Grimaldi  shouted  to  his  friend  to  follow  him  through  the  back 
gate,  but  seeing,  from  his  station  on  the  wall,  that  he  and  the 
thief  took  directly  opposite  courses,  he  leapt  into  the  field,  and 
set  off  at  full  speed.  He  was  stopped  in  the  very  outset  of  his 
career,  by  tumbling  over  a  cow,  which  was  lying  on  the  ground, 
in  which  involuntary  pantomimic  feat  he  would  most  probably 
have  cut  his  own  head  oft*  with  the  weapon  he  carried,  if  his 
theatrical  practice  as  a  fencer  had  not  taught  him  to  carry  edge 
tools  with  caution. 

The  companion  having  taken  a  little  run  by  himself,  soon 
returned  out  of  breath,  to  say  he  had  seen  nobody,  and  they  re- 
entered  the  house,  where  by  the  light  of  the  candle  it  was  seen 
that  the  sword  was  covered  with  blood. 

The  constable  of  the  night  had  arrived  by  this  time ;  and  a 
couple  of  watchmen  bearing  large  lanterns,  to  show  the  thieves 
they  were  coming,  issued  forth  into  the  field,  in  hopes  of  taking 
the  offenders  alive  or  dead — they  would  have  preferred  t  the 
latter ; — and  of  recovering  any  of  the  stolen  property  that  might 
be  scattered  about.  The  direction  which  the  wounded  man  had 
taken  having  been  pointed  out,  they  began  to  explore,  by  very 
slow  degrees. 

Bustling  about,  striving  to  raise  the  spirits  of  the  party,  and 
beginning  to  stow  away  in  their  proper  places  such  articles  as 
the  thieves  had  condescended  to  leave,  one  of  the  first  things 
Grimaldi  chanced  to  light  upon  was  Miss  Hughes's  shawl. 

"  Maria's  gift,  at  all  events,"  he  said,  taking  it  up  and  giving 
it  a  slight  wave  in  his  hand ;  when  out  fell  a  lozenge-box  upon 
the  floor,  much  more  heavily  than  a  lozenge-box  with  any  ordi- 
nary lozenges  inside  would  do. 

Upon  this  the  mother  clapped  her  hands,  and  set  up  a  louder 
scream  than  she  had  given  vent  to  when  she  found  the  house 

"  My  money !  my  money  !"  she  screamed. 

"It  can't  be  helped,  my  dear  madam,3'  said  everybody; 
"  think  of  poor  Mrs.  Lewis ;  she  is  quite  as  badly  off." 

"Oh,  I  don't  mean  that,"  was  the  reply.  "Oh!  thank 
Heaven,  they  didn't  find  my  money."  So  with  many  half- 

D  2 


frantic  exclamations,  she  picked  up  the  lozenge-box,  and  there, 
sure  enough,  were  thirty-seven  guineas,  (it  was  completely  full,) 
which  had  lain  securely  concealed  beneath  the  shawl ! 

They  sat  down  to  supper ;  but  although  Mrs.  Grimaldi*  now 
cheered  up  wonderfully,  and  quite  rallied  her  friend  upon  her 
low  spirits,  poor  Mrs.  Lewis,  who  had  found  no  lozenge-box, 
was  quite  unable  to  overcome  her  loss.  Supper  over,  and  some 
hot  potations,  which  the  fright  had  rendered  absolutely  neces- 
sary, despatched,  the  friends  departed,  and  the  usual  inmates  of 
the  house  were  left  alone  to  make  such  preparations  for  passing 
the  night  as  they  deemed  fitting. 

They  were  ludicrous  enough :  upon  comparing  notes,  it  was 
found  that  nobody  could  sleep  alone,  upon  which  they  came 
to  the  conclusion,  that  they  had  better  all  sleep  in  the  same 
room.  For  this  purpose,  a  mattress  was  dragged  into  the  front 
parlour,  upon  which  the  two  females  bestowed  themselves  with- 
out undressing ;  Lewis  sat  _in  an  easy  chair ;  and  Grimaldi, 
having  loaded  two  pistols,  wiped  the  sanguinary  stains  from  the 
broadsword,  and  laid  it  by  his  side,  drew  another  easy-chair 
near  the  door,  and  there  mounted  guard. 

All  had  been  quiet  for  some  time,  and  they  were  falling  asleep, 
when  they  were  startled  by  a  long  loud  knocking  at  the  back- 
door, which  led  into  the  garden.  They  all  started  up  and  gazed 
upon  each  other,  with  looks  of  considerable  dismay.  The  females 
would  have  screamed,  only  they  were  too  frightened ;  and  the 
men  would  have  laughed  it  off,  but  they  were  quite  unable  from 
the  same  cause  to  muster  the  faintest  smile. 

Grimaldi  was  the  first  to  recover  the  sudden  shock,  which  the 
supposed  return  of  the  robbers  had  communicated  to  the  party, 
and  turning  to  Lewis,  said,  with  one  of  his  oddest  looks, 

"  You  had  better  go  to  the  back-door,  old  boy,  and  see  who 
it  is/* 

Mr.  Lewis  did  not  appear  quite  satisfied  upon  the  point.  He 
reflected  for  a  short  time,  and  looking  with  a  very  blank  face  at 
his  wife,  said  he  was  much  obliged  to  Mr.  Grimaldi,  but  he 
'vould  rather  not. 

In  this  dilemma,  it  was  arranged  that  Lewis  should  wait  in  the 
passage,  and  that  Grimaldi  should  creep  softly  up  stairs,  and  re- 
connoitre the  enemy  from  the  window  above — a  plan  which 
Lewis  thought  much  more  feasible,  and  which  was  at  once 
put  in  execution. 

While  these  deliberations  were  going  forward,  the  knocking 
had  continued  without  cessation,  and  it  now  began  to  assume  a 
subdued  and  confidential  tone,  which,  instead  of  subduing 
their  alarm,  rather  tended  to  increase  it.  Armed  with  the 
two^pistols  and  the  broadsword,  and  looking  much  more  like 
llobinson  Crusoe  than  either  the  "  Shipwrecked  Mariner, "*  or  tho 

*  Mra.  Brocket. 


"Little Clown,"  Grimaldi  thrust  his  head  out  of  the  window,  and 
hailed  the  people  below,  in  a  voice  which,  between  agitation  and 
a  desire  to  communicate  to  the  neighbours  the  full  benefit  of 
the  discussion,  was  something  akin  to  that  in  which  his  well- 
known  cry  of  "  Here  we  are !"  afterwards  acquired  so  much 

It  was  between  two  and  three  o'clock  in  the  morning, — the 
day  was  breaking,  and  the  light  increasing  fast.  He  could 
descry  two  men  at  the  door  heavily  laden  with  something,  but 
with  what  he  could  not  discern.  All  he  could  see  was,  that  it 
was  not  fire-arms^  and  that  was  a  comfort. 

"Hollo !  hollo !"  he  shouted  out  of  the  window,  displaying  the 
brace  of  pistols  and  the  broadsword  to  the  best  advantage ; 
"  what's  the  matter  there  ?"  Here  he  coughed  very  fiercely,  and 
again  demanded  what  was  the  matter. 

"  Why,  sir,"  replied  one  of  the  men,  looking  up,  and  hold- 
ing on  his  hat  as  he  did  so,  "we  thought  we  should  never 
wake  ye." 

"  And  what  did  you  want  to  wake  me  for  ?"  was  the  natural 

m  "Why,  the  property!"  replied  both  the  men  at  the  same 

"  The  what  ?"  inquired  the  master  of  the  house,  taking  in  the 
broadsword,  and  putting  the  pistols  on  the  window-sill. 

"  The  property !"  replied  the  two  men,  pettishly.  "  Here  we 
have  been  a-iooking  over  the  field  all  this  time,  and  have  found 
the  property." 

!No  further  conversation  was  necessary.  The  door  was  opened, 
and  the  watchmen  entered  bearing  two  large  sacks,  which  they 
had  stumbled  on  in  the  field,  and  the  females,  falling  on  their 
knees  before  them,  began  dragging  forth  their  contents  in  an 
agony  of  impatience.  After  a  lengthened  examination,  it  was 
found  that  the  sacks  contained  every  article  that  had  been  taken 
away;  that  not  one,  however  trifling,  was  missing;  and  that 
they  had  come  into  possession,  besides,  of  a  complete  and  exten- 
sive assortment  of  nouse-breaking  tools,  including  centre-bit, 
picklock,  keys,  screws,  dark  lanterns,  a  file,  and  a  crow-bar. 
The  watchmen  were  dismissed  with  ten  shillings,  and  as  many 
thousand  thanks,  and  the  party  breakfasted  in  a  much  more 
comfortable  manner  than  that  in  which  they  had  supped  on  the 
previous  night. 

The  conversation  naturally  turned  upon  the  robbery,  and 
various  conjectures  and  surmises  were  hazarded  relative  to  the 
persons  by  whom  it  had  been  committed.  It  appeared  perfectly 
evident  that  the  thieves,  whoever  they  were,  must  have  obtained 
information  of  the  expected  night  rehearsal  at  Sadler's  Wells ; 
it  was  equally  clear  that  if  the  rehearsal  had  not  been  most  for- 
tunately postponed,  they  would  not  only  have  lost  everything 
they  possessed,  but  the  thieves  would  have  got  clear  oif  with  the 


booty  into  the  bargain.  It  was  worthy  of  remark,  that  the 
house  had  never  been  attempted  when  the  servant  girl  was  at 
home,  and  the  females  were  half  inclined  to  attach  suspicion  to 
her ;  but  on  reflection  it  seemed  unlikely  that  she  was  implicated 
in  the  transaction,  for  she  was  the  daughter  of  very  respectable 
parents,  not  to  mention  her  uncle  having  held  the  situation  of 
master-tailor  to  the  theatre  for  forty  years,  and  her  aunt  having 
served  the  family  in  the  same  capacity  as  the  girl  herself.  In 
addition  to  these  considerations,  she  had  been  well  brought  up,, 
had  always  appeared  strictly  honest,  and  had  already  lived  m 
the  house  for  nearly  four  years.  Upon  these  grounds  it  was  re- 
solved that  the  girl  could  not  be  a  party  to  the  attempt. 

But  whoever  committed  the  burglary,  it  was  necessary  that  the 
house  should  be  well  secured,  with  which  view  a  carpenter  was 
sent  for,  and  a  great  supply  of  extra  bolts  and  bars  were  placed 
upon  the  different  doors.  Notwithstanding  these  precautions, 
however,  and  the  additional  security  which  they  necessarily 
afforded,  the  females  were  very  nervous  for  a  long  time,  and  the 
falling  of  a  plate,  or  slamming  of  a  door,  or  a  loud  ringing  at  the 
bell,  or  above  all,  the  twopenny  postman  after  dark,  was  sufficient 
to  throw  them  into  the  extremity  of  terror.  Being  determined  not 
to  leave  the  house,  in  future,  without  somebody  to  take  care  of 
it  while  the  family  were  at  the  theatre,  they  resolved,  after 
many  pros  and  cons,  to  engage  for  the  purpose,  a  very  trust- 
worthy man,  who  was  employed  as  a  watchman  to  the  theatre,, 
but  was  not  required  to  attend  until  eleven  o'clock  at  night,  by 
which  time,  at  all  events,  some  _  of  the  family  would  be  able  to 
reach  home.  The  man  was  hired,  and  commenced  his  watch, 
on  the  night  after  the  robbery;  and  there  he  continued  to 
remain,  every  evening,  until  the  return  of  the  servant  girl  from 
the  country  released  him  from  further  attendance. 

The  agitation  and  surprise  of  this  girl  were  very  great,  when 
she  was  informed  of  what  had  occurred,  but  they  did  not  appear 
to  be  the  emotions  of  a  guilty  person.  All  agreed  that  there  was 
no  good  ground  of  suspicion  against  her.  She  was  asked  if  she 
would  be  afraid  to  be  left  alone  in  the  house  after  what  had 
taken  place,  when  she  declared  that  she  was  not  afraid  of  any 
thieves,  and  that  she  would  willingly  sit  up  alone,  as  she  had 
been  accustomed  to  do ;  merely  stipulating  that  she  should  be 
albwed  to  light  a  fire  in  Lewis's  sitting  room,  for  the  purpose  of 
inducing  robbers  to  suppose  that  the  family  were  at  home,  and 
that  she  should  be  provided  with  a  large  rattle,  with  which  to 
alarm  the  neighbours  at  any  appearance  of  danger.  Both  re- 
quests were  complied  with;  and  as  an  additional  precaution, 
the  street  watchman,  whose  box  was  within  a  few  yards  of  the 
door,  was  fee'd  to  be  on  the  alert,  to  keep  a  sharp  eye  upon  the 
house,  and  to  attend  to  any  summons  from  within,  whenever  it 
might  be  made. 

The  thieves,  whoever  they  were,  were  very  wanton  fellows. 


and  added  outrage  to  plunder,  for  with  the  most  heartless 
cruelty,  and  an  absence  of  all  taste  for  scientific  pursuits,  which 
woiild  stigmatise  them  at  once  as  occupying  a  very  low  grade  in. 
their  profession,  had  broken  open  a  closet  in  Grimaldi's  room, 
containing  his  chosen  cabinet  of  insects,  including  Dartford 
.Blues,  which,  either  because  it  was  not  portable,  or  because 
they  thought  it  of  no  value,  attaching  no  importance  to  flies, 
they  most  recklessly  and  barbarously  destroyed.  With  the 
exception  of  one  small  box,  they  utterly  annihilated  the  whole 
collection,  including  even  his  models,  drawings,  and  colours :  it 
would  have  taken  years  to  replace  them,  if  the  collector  had 
been  most  indefatigable ;  and  it  would  have  cost  at  least  200?.  to 
have  replaced  them  by  purchase.  This  unforeseen  calamity  put 
a  total  stop  to  the  fly-catching,  so  collecting  together  his  nets, 
and  cases,  and  the  only  box  which  was  not  destroyed,  he  gave 
them  all  away  next  day  to  an  acquaintance  who  had  a  taste  for 
such  things,  and  never  more  employed  himself  in  a  similar 

After  the  lapse  of  a  short  time,  the  arrangements  and  precau- 
tions infused  renewed  confidence  into  the  inmates  of  the  house, 
and  they  began  to  feel  more  secure  than  they  had  yet  done 
since  the  robbery ;  a  fortnight  had  now  passed  over,  and  they 
strengthened  themselves  with  the  reflection,  that  the  thieves 
having  met  with  so  disagreeable  a  reception,  one  of  them  at  least 
having  been  severely  wounded,  were  very  unlikely  to  renew  the 

But  well  founded  as  these  conjectures  >  might  seem,  they 
reckoned  without  their  host,  for  on  the  third  night,  after  the 
girl's  return,  they  made  a  fresh,  for  which  we  will  re- 
serve a  fresh  chapter. 



1797  to  1798. 

The  thieves  make  a  second  attempt ;  alarmed  by  their  perseverance,  Grimaldi 
repairs  to  Hatton  Garden — Interview  with  Mr.  Trott ;  ingenious  device  of 
that  gentleman  and  its  result  on  the  third  visit  of  the  Burglars — Comparative 
attractions  of  Pantomime  and  Spectacle — Trip  to  Gravesend  and  Chatham — 
Disagreeable  recognition  of  a  good-humoured  friend,  and  an  agreeable  mode 
of  journejing  recommended  to  all  Travellers. 

ON  the  _  third  night,— the  previous  two  having  passed  in  per- 
fect quiet  and  security^, — the  servant  girl  was  at  work  in  the 
kitchen,  when  she  fancied  she  heard  a  sound  as  if  some  person 
were  attempting  to  force  open  the  garden-door.  She  thought  it 
merely  the  effect  of  fancy  at  first,  but  the  noise  continuing,  she 
went  softly  up  stairs  into  the  passage,  and  on  looking  towards 
the  door,  saw  that  the  latch  was  moved  up  and  down  several 
times  by  a  hand  outside,  while  some  person  pushed  violently 
against  the  door  itself. 

The  poor  girl  being  very  much  frightened,  her  first  impulse 
was  to  scream  violently ;  but  so  far  were  her  cries  from  deterring 
the  persons  outside  from  persisting  in  their  attempt,  that  they 
only  seemed  to  press  it  with  redoubled  vigour.  Indeed,  ?/o 
violent  were  their  exertions,  as  if  irritated  by  the  noise  the  girl 
made,  that  the  door  was  very  nearly  forced  from  its  position,  in 
which  state  it  was  discovered  on  a  subsequent  inspection.  If  it 
had  not  been  proof  against  the  attacks  of  the  thieves,  the  girl 
would  assuredly  have  been  murdered.  Recovering  her  presence 
of  mind,  however,  on  finding  that  they  could  not  force  an  en- 
trance^ she  ran  to  the  street-door,  flung  it  open,  and  had 
immediate  recourse  to  the  rattle,  which  she  wielded  with  such 
hearty  good  will,  that  the  watchman  and  half  the  neighbour- 
hood were  quickly  on  the  spot.  Immediate  search  was  made 
for  the  robbers  in  the  rear  of  the  house,  but  they  had  thought  it 
prudent  to  escape  quietly. 

Upon  the  return  of  the  family,  all  their  old  apprehensions 
were  revived,  and  their  former  fears  were  increased  tenfold  by 
the  bold  and  daring  nature  of  this  second  attempt.  Watch  was 
kept  all  night,  the  watchers  starting  at  the  slightest  sound ; 
rest  was  out  of  the  question,  and  nothing  but  dismay  and  con- 
tusion prevailed. 

The  ^ext  morning  it  was  resolved  that  the  house  should  be 
lortined  with  additional  strength,  and  that  when  these  precau- 


tions  had  been  taken,  Grimaldi  should  repair  to  the  police-office 
of  the  district,  state  his  case  to  the  sitting:  magistrate,  and  claim 
the  assistance  of  the  constituted  authorities. 

Having  had  bars  of  iron,  and  plates  of  iron,  and  patent  locks^ 
and  a  variety  of  ingenious  defences  affixed  to  the  interior  of  the 
garden-door,  which,  when  fastened  with  all  these  appurtenances, 
appeared  nearly  impregnable,  Grimaldi  accordingly  walked 
down  to  Hatton  Garden,  with  the  view  of  backing  the  locks 
and  bolts  with  the  aid  of  the  executive. 

There  was  at  that  time  a  very  shrewd,  knowing  officer  attached 
to  that  establishment,  whose  name  was  Trott.  This  Trott  was 
occasionally  employed  to  assist  the  regular  constables  at  the 
theatre,  when  they  expected  a  great  house ;  and  G-rimaldi  no 
sooner  stepped  into  the  passage,  than  walking  up  to  him,  Trott 
accosted  him  with  : — 

"  How  do,  master  ?" 

"  How  do  you  do  ?" 

"  Pretty  well,  thankee,  master ;  I  was  just  going  to  call  up  at 
your  place." 

"  AJi !"  said  tho  other,  "  you  have  heard  of  it,  then  ?" 

"  Yes,  I  have  heard  of  it,"  said  Mr.  Trott,  with  a  grin,  "  and 
heard  a  great  deal  more  about  it  than  you  know  on,  master." 

"You  don't  surely  mean  to  say  that  you  have  apprehended 
the  burglars  r" 

"  No,  no,  I  don't  mean  that ;  I  wish  I  did :  they  have  been 
one  too  many  for  me  as  yet.  Why,  when  they  first  started  in 
business  there  worn't  fewer  than  twenty  men  in  that  gang. 
Sixteen  or  seventeen  on  'em  have  been  hung  or  transported,  and 
the  rest  is  them  that  has  been  at  your  house.  They  have  got  a 
hiding-place  somewhere  in  Pentonville.  I'll  tell  you  what, 
master,"  said  Trott,  taking  the  other  by  the  button,  and  speak- 
ing in  a  hoarse  whisper,  "they  are  the  worst  of  the  lot ;  up  to 
everything  they  are ;  and  take  my  word  for  it,  Mr.  Grimaldi, 
they'll  stick  at  nothing." 

Grimaldi  looked  anything  but  pleased  at  this  intelligence,  and 
Trott  observing  his  disturbed  countenance,  added, — 

"Don't  you  be  alarmed,  master;  what  they  want  is,  their 
revenge  for  their  former  disappointment.  That's  what  it  is," 
said  Trott,  nodding  his  head  sagaciously. 

"  It  appears  very  extraordinary,"  said  Grimaldi.  "  This  is  a 
very  distressing  situation  to  be  placed  in." 

"  Why,  so  it  is,"  said  the  officer,  after  a  little  consideration ; — 
"  so  it  is,  when  you  consider  that  they  never  talk  without  doing. 
But  don't  be  afraid,  Mr.  Grimaldi." 

"  Oh  no,  I'm  not,"  replied  the  other ;  adding,  in  as  cool  a 
manner  as  he  could  assume,  *'  they  came  again  last  night." 

"I  know  that,"  said  the  officer.  "I'll  let  you  into  another 
secret,  master.  They  are  coming  again  to-night." 

"  Again  to-night !    exclaimed  Grimaldi. 


"  As  sure  as  fate,"  replied  the  officer,  nodding  to  a  friend  who 
was  passing  down  the  street  on  the  other  side  of  the  way, — 
"  and  if  your  establishment  an't  large  enough,  and  powerful 
enough  to  resist  'em — " 

"  Large  and  powerful  enough  !"  exclaimed  the  other, — *"'  why 
there  are  only  three  women  and  one  other  male  person  besides 
myself  in  the  house." 

'"Ah  !"  said  Mr.  Trott,  " that  isn't  near  enoiigh." 

"Enough!  no!"  rejoined  Grimaldi ;  "and  it  would  kill  my 

"I  dare  say  it  would,"  acquiesced  the  officer;  "my  mother 
was  killed  in  a  similar  manner." 

This,  like  the  rest  of  the  officer's  discourse,  was  far  from  con- 
solatory, and  Grimaldi  looked  anxiously  in  his  face  for  something 
like  a  ray  of  hope. 

Mr.  Trott  meditated  for  some  short  time,  and  then,  looking 
up  with  his  head  on  one  side,  said,  "  I  think  I  see  a  way  now, 

"  What  is  it  ?  What  do  you  propose  ?  I'm  agreeable  to  any- 
thing," said  Grimaldi,  in  a  most  accommodating  manner. 

"  Never  mind  that,"  said  the  officer.  "  You  put  yourself  into 
mv  hands,  and  I'll  be  the  saving  of  your  property,  and  the 
taking  of  them." 

Grimaldi  burst  into  many  expressions  of  admiration  and 
gratitude,  and  put  his  hand  into  Mr.  Trott's  hands,  as  an 
earnest  of  his  readiness  to  deposit  himself  there. 

"  Only  rid  us,"  said  Grimaldi,  "  of  these  dreadful  visitors, 
who  really  keep  us  in  a  state  of  perpetual  misery,  and  anything 
you  think  proper^to  accept  shall  be  cheerfully  paid  you."  " 

The  officer  replied,  Ayith  many  moral  observations  on  the  duties 
of  police-officers,  their  incorruptible  honesty,  their  zeal,  and 
rigid  discharge  of  the  functions  reposed  in  them.  If  Mr. 
Grimaldi  would  do  his  duty  to  his  country,  and  prosecute  them 
to  conviction^  that  was  all  he  required. 

To  this,  Grimaldi,  not  having  any  precise  idea  of  the  expense 
of  a  prosecution,  readily  assented,  and  the  officer  declared  he 
should  be  sufficiently  repaid  by  the  pleasing  consciousness  of 
having  done  his  duty.  He  did  not  consider  it  necessary  to  add. 
that  a  reward  had  been  offered  for  the  apprehension  of  the  same 
offenders,  payable  on  their  conviction. 

m  They  walked  back  to  the  house  together,  and  the  officer  having 
inspected  it  with  the  practised  eye  of  an  experienced  person., 
declared  himself  thoroughly  satisfied,  and  stated  that  if  his 
injunctions  were  strictly  attended  to,  he  had  no  doubt  his  final 
operations  would  be  completely  successful. 

"  It  will  be  necessary,"  said  Trott,  speaking  with  great  pomp 

and  _  grandeur,  as  the  inmates  assembled  round  him  to  hear  his 

oration, — "  it  will  be  necessary  to  take  every  portable  article  out 

:  the  back  kitchen,  the  parlour,  and  the  bed-room,  and  to  give 

me  up  the  entire  possession  of  this  house  fey  one  night ;  at  least 


until  such  time  as  I  shall  have  laid  my  hand  upon  these  here 

It  is  needless  to  say  that  this  proposition  was  agreed  to,  and 
that  the  females  at  once  went  about  clearing  the  rooms  as  the 
officer  had  directed.  At  five  o'clock  in  the  afternoon  he  returned, 
and  the  keys  of  the  house  were  delivered  up  to  him.  These 
arrangements  having  been  made,  the  family  departed  to  the 
theatre  as  usual,  leaving  Mr.  Trott  alone  in  the  house ;  for  the 
servant  girl  had  been  sent  away  to  a  neighbour's  by  his  desire, 
whether  from  any  feeling  of  delicacy  on  the  part  of  Mr.  Trott, 
(who  was  a  married  man,)  or  from  any  apprehension  that  she 
might  impede  his  operations,  we  are  not  informed. 

The  officer  remained  alone  in  the  house,  taking  care  not  to  go 
near  any  of  the  windows  until  it  was  dark,  when  two  of  his 
colleagues,  coming  by  appointment  to  _  the  garden-door,  were 
stealthily  admitted  into  the  house.  Having  carefully  scrutinised 
the  whole  place,  they  disposed  themselves  in  the  following  order. 
One  man  locked  and  bolted  in  the  front  kitchen,  another  locked 
and  bolted  himself  in  the  sitting-room  above  stairs,  and  Mr. 
Trott,  the  presiding  genius,  in  the  front-parlour  towards  the 
street ;  the  last-named  gentleman  having,  before  he  retired  into 
ambuscade,  bolted  and  barred  the  back-door,  and  only  locked 
the  front  one. 

Here  they  remained  for  some  time,  solitary  enough,  no  doubt, 
for  there  was  not  a  light  in  the  house,  and  each  man  being 
fastened  in  a  room  by  himself  was  as  much  alone  as  if  there  had 
been  no  one  else  in  the  place.  The  time  seemed  unusually  long ; 
they  listened  intently,  and  were  occasionally  deceived  for  an 
instant  by  some  noise  in  the  street,  but  it  soon  subsided  again, 
and  all  was  silent  as  before. 

At  length,  some  time  after  night-fall,  a  low  knock  came  to  the 
street-door.  No  attention  being  paid  to  it,  the  knock  was  re- 
peated, and  this  time  it  was  rather  louder.  It  echoed  through 
the  house,  but  no  one  stirred.  After  a  short  interval,  as  if  the 
person  outside  had  been  listening  and  had  satisfied  himself,  a 
slight  rattling  was  heard  at  the  keyhole,  and,  the  lock  being- 
picked,  the  footsteps  of  two  men  were  heard  in  the  passage. 

They  quietly  bolted  the  door  after  them,  and  pulling  from 
beneath  their  coats  a  couple  of  dark  lanterns,  walked  softly  up 
stairs.  Finding  the  door  of  the  front-room  locked,  they  came 
down  again,  and  tried  the  front-parlour,  which  was  also  locked, 
whereat,  Mr.  Trott,  who  was  listening  with  his  ear  close  to  the 
handle,  laughed ^immoderately,  but  without  noise. 

Unsuccessful  in  these  two  attempts,  they  went  down  stairs, 
and  with  some  surprise  found  one  of  the  kitchens  locked,  and 
the  other  open.  Only  stopping  just  to  peep  into  the  open  one, 
they  once  more  ascended  to  the  passage. 

"  Well,"  said  one  of  the  men,  as  he  came  up  the  kitchen  stairs, 
"we  have  got  it  all  to  ourselves  to-night,  anyway,  so  we  had 
better  not  lose  any  time  Hollo  I" — 


"  What's  the  matter?"  said  the  other,  looking  back. 

"Look  here!"  rejoined  his  comrade,  pointing  to  the  garden- 
door,  with  the  bolts,  and  iron  plates,  and  patent  locks, — '*  here's 
protection — here's  security  for  a  friend.  These  have  been  put 
on  since  we  were  here  afore ;  we  might  have  tried  to  get  in  for 

"  We  had  better  stick  it  open,"  said  the  other  man,  "  and  then 
if  there's  any  game  in  front,  we  can  get  off  as  we  did  t'other 

"  Easily  said.  How  do  you  do  it  ?"  said  the  first  speaker . 
*'  it  will  take  no  end  of  time,  and  make  no  end  of  noise,  to  undo 
all  these  things.  We  had  better  look  sharp.  There's  no  re- 
hearsal to-night,  remember." 

At  this,  they  both  laughed,  and  determining  to  take  the 
front-parlour  first,  picked  the  lock  without  more  ado.  This 
done,  they  pushed  against  the  door  to  open  it,  but  were  unable 
to  do  so  by  reason  of  the  bolts  inside,  which  Mr.  Trott  had  taken 
good  care  to  thrust  into  the  staples  as  far  as  they  would  possi- 
bly go. 

"This  is  a  rum  game!"  said  one  of  the  fellows,  giving  the 
door  a  kick,  "it  wont  open !" 

"Never  mind,  let  it  be,"  said  the  other  man;  "there's  a 
spring  or  something.  The  back  kitchen's  open ;  we  had  better 
begin ^ there;  we  know  there's  some  property  here,  because  we 
took  it  away  before.  Show  yourself  smart,  and  bring  the 

As  the  speaker  stooped  to  trim  his  lantern,  the  other  man 
joined  him,  and  said,  with  an  oath  and  a  chuckle — 

"  Shouldn't  you  like  to  know  who  it  was  as  struck  you  with 
the  sword,  Tom  ?" 

"  I  wish  I  did,"  growled  the  other ;  "  I'd  put  a  knife  in  him 
before  many  days  was  over.  Come  on." 

.They  went  down  stairs,  and  Trott,  softly  gliding  from  his 
hiding-place,  double-locked  the  street-door,  and  put  the  key  in 
•  his^pocket.  He  then  stationed  himself  at  the  top  of  the  kitchen 
stairs,  where  he  listened  with  great  glee  to  the  exclamations  of 
surprise  and  astonishment  which  escaped  the  robbers,  as  they 
opened  drawer  after  drawer,  and  found  them  all  empty. 

"  Everything  taken  away !" — said  one  of  the  men :  "  what  the 
devil  does  this  mean  ?" 

The  officer,  by  way  of  reply,  fired  a  pistol  charged  only  with 
blank  powder,  down  the  stairs,  and  retreated  expeditiously  to 
his  parlour. 

This  being  the  signal,  the  sound  was  instantly  followed  by  the 
noise  of  the  other  two  officers  unlocking  and  unbolting  the  doors 
vj  hiding-places.  The  thieves,  scrambling  up  stairs, 
rushed  quickly  to  the  street-door,  but,  in  consequence  of  its 
being  locked,  they  were  unable  to  escape ;  were  easily  made 
prisoners,  handcuffed,  and  borne  away  in  triumph. 


The  affair  was  all  over,  and  the  house  restored  to  order,  when 
^he  family  came  home.  The  officer  who  had  been  despatched  to 
jring  the  servant  home,  and  left  behind  to  bear  her  company  in 
lase  any  of  the  companions  of  the  thieves  should  pay  the  house 
a  visit,  took  his  departure  as  soon  as  they  appeared,  bearing 
with  him  a  large  sack  left  behind  by  the  robbers,  which  con- 
tained as  extensive  an  assortment  of  the  implements  of  their 
trade,  as  had  been  so  fortunately  captured  on  their  first  ap- 

Grimaldi  appeared  at  Hatton  Garden  the  next  morning,  and 
was  introduced  to  the  prisoners  for  the  first  time.  His  testi- 
mony haying  been  taken,  and  the  evidence  of  Mr.  Trott  and  his 
men  received,  by  which  the  identity  of  the  criminals  was  clearly 
proved,  they  were  fully  committed  for  trial,  and  Grimaldi  was 
bound  over  to  prosecute.  They  were  tried  at  the  ensuing  Ses- 
sions; the  jury  at  once  found  them  guilty,  and  they  were 
transported  for  life. 

This  anecdote,  which  is  narrated  in  every  particular  precisely 
as  the  circumstances  occurred,  affords  a  striking  and  curious 
picture  of  the  state  of  society  in  and  about  London,  in  this 
respect,  at  the  very  close  of  the  last  century.  The  bold  and 
daring  highwaymen  who  took  the  air  at  Hounslow,  Bagshot, 
JFinchley,  and  a  hundred  other  places  of  quite  fashionable  resort, 
had  ceased  to  canter  their  blood-horses  over  heath  and  road  in 
search  of  plunder,  but  there  still  existed  in  the  capital  and  its 
environs,  common  and  poorer  gangs  of  thieves,  whose  depreda- 
tions were  conducted  with  a  daring,  and  disregard  of  conse- 
quences, which  to  the  citizens  of  this  age  is  wholly  extraordinary. 
One  attempt  at  robbery  similar  to  that  which  has  just  been  de- 
scribed, committed  now-a-days  in  such  a  spot,  would  fill  the 
public  papers  for  a  month;  but  three  such  attempts  on  the 
same  house,  and  by  the  same  men,  would  set  all  London,  and 
all  the  country  for  thirty  miles  round  to  boot,  in  a  ferment  of 
wonder  and  indignation. 

It  was  proved,  on  the  examination  of  these  men  at  the  police- 
office,  that  they  were  the  only  remaining  members  of  a  band  of 
thieves  called  the  "Pentonville  Robbers,"  and  the  prosecutor 
and  his  family  congratulated  themselves  not  a  little  upon  the 
fact,  inasmuch  as  it  relieved  them  from  the  apprehension  that 
Jhere  were  any  more  of  their  companions  left  behind  who  might 
feel  disposed  to  revenge  their  fate. 

This  was  Grimaldi's  first  visit  to  a  police-office.  His  next 
appearance  on  the  same  scene  was  under  very  different  circum- 
stances. But  of  this  anon. 

The  fears  of  the  family  had  been  so  thoroughly  roused,  and 
their  dreams  were  haunted  by  such  constant  visions  of  the  Pen- 
tonville Robbers,  that  the  house  grew  irksome  and  distressing, 
especially  to  the  females.  Moreover,  Grimaldi  now  began  to 
think  it  nigh  time  that  his  marriage  should  take  pkce ;  and,  as 


now  that  he  had  gained  the  mother's  approval,  he  did  not  so 
entirely  despair  of  succeeding  with  the  father,  he  resolved  to 
take  a  larger  house,  and  to  furnish  and  fit  it  up  handsomely,  on 
a  scale  proportionate  to  his  increased  means.  He  naturally 
trusted  that  Mr.  Hughes  would  be  more  disposed  to  entrust  hia 
daughter's  happiness  to  his  charge  when  he  found  that  her 
suitor  was  enabled  to  provide  her  with  a  comfortable,  if  not  an 
elegant  home,  and  to  support  her  in  a  sphere  of  life  not  very 
distantly  removed  from  that  in  which  her  father's  fortunes  and 
possessions  entitled  her  to  be  placed. 

Accordingly,  he  gave  notice  to  the  landlord  of  the  ill-fated 
house  in  Penton-place,  that  he  should  quit  it  in  the  following 
March ;  and  accompanied  by  Miss  Hughes,  to  whom,  as  he  very 
properly  says,  "  of  course"  he  referred  everything,  they  wan- 
dered about  the  whole  neighbourhood  in  search  of  some  house 
that  would  be  more  suitable  to  them.  Pento'n-street^was  the 
St.  James's  of  Pentonville,  the  Regent's  Park  of  the  City-road, 
in  those  days ;  and  here  he  was  fortunate  enough  to  secure  the 
house  No.  37,  which  was  forthwith  furnished  and  fitted  up, 
agreeably  to  the  taste  and  direction  of  Miss  Hughes  herself. 

He  had  plenty  of  time  to  devote  to  the  contemplation  of  his 
expected  happiness,  and  the  complete  preparation  of  his  new 
residence,  for  Sadler's  Wells  Theatre  was  then  closed, — the 
season  terminating  at  that  time  at  the  end  of  October, — and  as 
lie  was  never  wanted  at  Drury  Lane  until  Christmas,  and  not 
much  then,  unless  they  produced  a  pantomime,  his  theatrical 
avocations  were  not  of  a  very  heavy  or  burdensome  description. 

This  year,  too,  the  proprietors  of  Drury  Lane,  in  pursuance  of 
a  custom  to  which  they  had  adhered  for  some  years,  produced 
an  expensive  pageant  instead  of  a  pantomime ;  an  alteration,  in 
Grimaldi's  opinion,  very  little  for  the  better,  if  not  positively  for 
the  worse.  It  having  been  the  established  custom  for  many 
years  to  produce  a  pantomime  at  Christmas,  the  public  naturally 
looked  for  it;  and  although  such  pieces  as  "Blue  Beard," 
"  Feudal  Times,"  "  Lodoiska,"  and  others  of  the  same  class, 
•undoubtedly  drew  money  to  the  house,  still  it  is  questionable 
whether  they  were  so  profitable  to  the  treasury  as  the  panto- 
mimes at_Covent  Garden.  If  we  may  judge  from  the  result, 
they  certainly  were  not,  for  after  several  years'  trial,  during  the 
whole  of  which  time  pantomimes  were  annually  produced  at 
Covent  Garden,  the  Christmas  pantomime  was  again  brought 
forward  at  Drury  Lane,  to  the  exclusion  of  spectacle. 

He  played  in  all  these^ pieces,  "Blue  Beard,"  and  so  forth; 
yet  his  parts  being  of  a  trilling  description,  occupied  no  time  in 
the  getting  up,  and  as  he  infinitely  preferred  the  company  of  Miss 
Hughes  to  that  of  a  theatrical  audience,  he  was  well  pleased. 
By  the  end  of  February,  the  whitewashers,  carpenters,  uphol- 
sterers, even  the  painters,  had  left  the  Penton-street  mansion, 
and  there  being  no  pantomime,  it  seemed  a  very  eligible  period 
for  being  married  at  once. 


Grimaldi  told  Miss  Hughes  that  he  thought  so :  Miss  Hughes 
replied  that  he  had  only  to  gain  her  father^  consent  in  the  first 
instance,  and  then  the  day  should  be  fixed  without  more  ado. 

This  was  precisely  what  the  lover  was  most  anxious  to  avoid, 
for  two  reasons :  firstly,  because  it  involved  the  very  probable 
postponement  of  his  happiness;  and  secondly,  because  the  ob- 
taining this  consent  was  an  a,wkward  process.  At  last  he  recol- 
lected that  in  consequence  of  Mr.  Hughes  being  out  of  town,  it 
was  quite  impossible  to  ask  him. 

"Very  good,"  said  Miss  Hughes;  "everything  happens  for 
the  best.  I  am  sure  you  would  never  venture  to  speak  to  him  on 
the  subject,  so  you  had  far  better  write.  He  will  not  keep  you 
long  in  suspense,  I  know,  for  he  is  quite  certain  to  answer  your 
letter  by  return  of  post." 

Mr.  Hughes  was  then  at  Exeter ;  and  as  it  certainly  did  ap- 
pear to  his  destined  son-in-law  a  much  better  course  to  write 
than  to  speak,  even  if  he  had  been  in  London,  he  sat  down 
without  delay,  and,  after  various  trials,  produced  such  a  letter 
as  he  thought  would  be  most  likely  to  find  its  way  to  the  father's 
heart.  Miss  Hughes  approving  of  the  contents,  it  was  re-read, 
copied,  punctuated,  folded,  and  posted. 

Next  day  the  lady  was  obliged  to  leave  town,  to  spend  a  short 
time  with  some  friends  at  Gravesend ;  and  the  lover,  very  much 
to  his  annoyance  and  regret,  was  fain  to  stay  behind,  and  con- 
sole himself  as  he  best  could,  in  his  mistress's  absence,  and  the 
absence  of  a  reply  from  her  father,  to  which  he  naturally  looked 
forward  with  considerable  impatience  and  anxiety. 

Five  days  passed  away,  and  still  no  letter  came ;  and  poor 
Grimaldi,  being  left  to  his  own  fears  and  apprehensions,  was 
reduced  to  the  most  desperate  and  dismal  forebodings.  Having 
no  employment  at  the  theatre,  and  nothing  to  dp  but  to  think  of 
his  mistress  and  his  letter,  he  was  almost  beside  himself  with 
anxiety  and  suspense.  It  was  with  no  small  pleasure,  then, 
that  he  received  a  note  from  Miss  Hughes,  entreating  him  to 
take  a  trip  down  to  Gravesend  in  one  of  the  sailing-boats  on  the 
following  Sunday,  as  he  could  return  by  the  same  conveyance  on 
the  same  night.  Of  course  he  was  not  slow  to  avail  himself  of 
the  invitation;  so  he  took  shipping  at  the  Tower  on  the  morning 
of  the  day  appointed,  and  readied  the  place  of  his  destination  in 
pretty  good  time.  The  only  water  communication  was  by  sailing- 
boats  ;  and  as  at  that  time  people  were  not  independent  of  wind 
and  tide,  and  everything  but  steam,  the  passengers  were  quite 
satisfied  to  get  down  when  they  did. 

He  found  Miss  Hughes  waiting  for  him  at  the  landing-place, 
and  getting  into  a  "  tide"  m  coach,  they  proceeded  to  Chatham, 
Miss  Hughes  informing  him  that  she  had  made  a  confidant  or 
her  brother,  who  was  stationed  there,  and  that  they  purposed 
spending  the  day  together. 

"  And  now,  Joe."  said  Miss  Hughes,  when  he  had  expressed 


the  pleasure  which  this  arrangement  afforded  him,  "  tell  me 
everything  that  has  happened.  What  does  my  father  say  ?" 

"My  dear,"  replied  Grimaldi,  "he  says  nothing  at  all;  he 
has  not  answered  my  letter." 

"Not  answered  your  letter!"  said  the  lady:  "his  punctuality 

"  So  I  have  always  heard,"  replied  Grimaldi:  "but  so  it  is ;  I 
have  not  heard  a  syllable." 

"  Then  you  must  write  again,  Joe,"  said  Miss  Hughes,  "  im- 
mediately, without  the  least  delay.  Let  me  see, — you  cannot 
very  well  write  to-day,  but  to-morrow  you  must  not  fail :  I 
cannot  account  for  his  silence." 

"  Nor  I,"  said  Grimaldi. 

"  Unless,  indeed,"  said  Miss  Hughes,  "  some  extraordinary 
business  has  driven  your  letter  from  his  memory." 

As  people  always  endeavour  to  believe  what  they  hope,  they 
were  not  long  in  determining  that  it  must  be  so.  Dismissing 
the  subject  from  their  minds,  they  spent  the  day  happily,  in 
company  with  young  Mr.  Hughes,  and  returning  to  Gravesend 
in  the  evening  by  another  tide  coach,  Grimaldi  was  on  board  the 
sailing-boat  shortly  before  eleven  o'clock;  it  being  arranged 
that  Miss  Hughes  was  to  follow  on  the  next  Saturday. 

In  the  cabin  of  the  boat  he  found  Mr.  De  Cleve,*  at  that  time 
treasurer  of  Sadler's  Wells.  There  are  jealousies  in  theatres,  as 
there  are  in  courts,  ball-rooms,  and  boarding-schools ;  and  this 
Mr.  De  Cleve  was  jealous  of  Grimaldi — not  because  he  stood  in 
his  way,  for  he  had  no  touch  of  comedy  in  his  composition,  but 
because  he  had  eclipsed,  and  indeed  altogether  outshone,  one 

•Vincent  de  Cleve,  facetiously  nick-named  among  his  associates,  "  Polly  de 
Cleve,"  not  from  any  efl'eminacy  of  character  or  manner,  or  his  almost  intolerable 
abuse  of  the  King's  English  by  the  constant  utterance  of  the  most  flagrant  cock- 
neyisms,  but  for  his  Marplot  qualities,  which  ever  prompted  him  to  pry  into 
everybody's  business,  and  create  by  his  interference  the  most  vexatious  mischief. 
He  \vasan  odd  fish.  Talent  he  had;  he  was  no  contemptible  composer  and 
musician,  and  in  his  office,  as  treasurer  to  the  Wells  for  many  years,  strictly 
honest.  Between  Sadler's  Wells  and  the  Angel  was  an  old  building,  immediately 
opposite  Lady  Owen's  Almshouses,  now  also  demolished,  called  Goose  Farm ; 
it  belonged  to  Mr.  Laycock,  the  cow-keeper  of  Islington  ;  but  had  ceased  to  be 
a  farm-house ;  and  was  divided  into  tenements ;  the  first  and  second  floors  were 
each  divided  into  two  suites  of  apartments.  On  the  first  floor  in  that  next  the 
Wells,  resided  John  Cawse,  the  artist,  whose  daughters  subsequently  distin- 
guished themselves  as  vocalists  of  no  common  power,  and  made  their  debut  in 
1820  at  Sadler's  Wells,  where  the  late  Mrs.  Cawse  was  also  an  actress. 

The  suite  next  the  Angel  was  occupied  by  the  mother  and  sister  of  Charles 
and  Thomas  Dibdin  ;  during  the  management  of  the  Wells  by  the  former,  the 
sister,  a  short  squab  figure,  generally  the  last  among  the  figurantes,  came  on 
among  villagers  and  mobs ;  but  under  other  lessees  was  not  employed,  and  died 
21  Clerkenweil  Poor-House.  De  Cleve  occupied  the  rooms  on  the  second  floor 
aoove  the  Dibdins  :  but  all  have  ceased  to  exist ;  and  Joe,  to  use  a  common  ex- 
pression, outlived  nis  enemy.  A  grave  stone,  laid  flat,  in  the  churchyard  of  St. 
Mary's,  Lambeth,  marks  the  spot  where  lie  buried,  Mrs.  Frances  De  Cleve,  who 
died  in  her  thirtieth  year,  May  3,  1795;  and  her  husband,  the  busy  meddler, 
Vincent  de  Cleve,  who  died  July  30, 1827,  aged  67. 


Mr.  Hartland,  "  a  very  clever  and  worthy  man,"  says  Grimaldi, 
who  was  at  that  time  also  engaged  as  a  pantomimic  and  melo- 
dramatic actor  at  Sadler's  Wells.  Mr.  De  Cleve,  tliinking  for 
his  friends  as  well  as  himself,  hated  Grimaldi  most  cordially, 
and  the  meeting  was  consequently  by  no  means  an  agreeable  one 
to  him ;  for  if  he  had  chanced  to  set  eyes  upon  Miss  Hughes, 
great  mischief-making  and  turmoil  would  be  the  inevitable 

"  In  the  name  of  wonder,  Grimaldi,"  said  this  agreeable  cha- 
racter, "  what  are  you  doing  here  ?" 

"  Going  back  to  London,"  replied  Grimaldi,  "  as  I  suppose 
most  of  us  are." 

"  That  is  not  what  I  meant,"  said  De  Cleve :  "  what  I  meant 
was,  to  ask  you  what  business  might  have  taken  you  to  Graves- 
end  ?" 

"Oh!  no  business  at  all,"  replied  the  other:  "directly  I 
landed,  I  went  off  by  the  tide-coach  to  Chatham." 

"Indeed !"  said  the  other. 

"  Yes,"  said  Grimaldi. 

The  treasurer  looked  rather  puzzled  at  this,  sufficiently  show- 
ing by  his  manner  that  he  had  been  hunting  about  Gravesend 
all  day  in  search  of  the  young  man.  He  remained  silent  a  short 
time,  and  then  said,  "  I  only  asked  because  I  thought  you  might 
have  had  a  dinner  engagement  at  Gravesend,  perhaps,— with  a 
young  lady,  even.  Who  knows  ?" 

This  little  sarcasm  on  the  part  of  the  worthy  treasurer  con- 
vinced Grimaldi,  that  having  somewhere  picked  up  the  informa- 
tion that  Miss  Hughes  was  at  Gravesend,  and  having  heard 
afterwards  from  Mrs.  Lewis,  or  somebody  at  the  theatre,  that 
Grimaldi  was  going  to  the  same  place,  he  had  followed  him' 
thither  with  the  amiable  intention  of  playing  the  spy,  and 
watching  his  proceedings.  If  he  had  observed  the  young  people 
together,  his  mischievous  intentions  would  have  been  completely 
successful ;  but  the  tide-coach  had  balked  him,  and  Mr.  De 
Cleve' s  good-natured  arrangements  were  futile. 

Grimaldi  laughed  in  his  sleeve  as  the  real  state  of  the  case 

£  resented  itself  to  his  mind ;  and  feeling  well  pleased  that  he 
ad  not  seen  them  together,  in  the  absence  of  any  reply  from 
Mr.  De  Cleve,  he  ascended  to  the  deck,  and  left  the  treasurer  to 
his  meditations. 

Upon  the  deck,  on  a  green  bench  with  a  back  to  it,  and  arms 
besides,  there  sat  a  neighbour,  and  a  neighbour's  wife,  and  the 
neighbour's  wife's  sister,  and  a  very  pretty  girl,  who  was  the 
neighbour's  wife's  sister's  friend.  There  was  just  room  for  one 
more  on  the  bench,  and  they  insisted  upon  Mr.  Grimaldi  occu- 
pying the  vacant  seat,  which  he  readily  did,  for  they  were 
remaining  on  deck  to  avoid  the  closeness  of  the  cabin,  and  ha 
preferred  the  cold  air  of  the  night  to  the  cold  heart  of  Mr.  Ds 


So  down  he  sat  next  to  the  pretty  friend ;  and  the  pretty  friend 
being  wrapped  in  a  very  large  seaman's  coat,  it  was  suggested 
by  the  neighbour,  who  was  a  wag  in  his  way,  that  she  ought  to 
lend  a  bit  of  it  to  Mr.  Grimaldi,  who  looked  very  cold.  After  a 
great  deal  of  blushing  and  giggling,  the  young  lady  put  her  left 
arm  through  the  left  arm  of  the  coat,  and  Grimaldi  put  his  right 
arm  through  the  right  arm  of  the  coat,  to  the  great  admiration 
of  the  whole  party,  and  after  the  manner  in  which  they  show 
the  giants'  coats  at  the  fairs.  They  sat  in  this  way  during  the 
whole  voyage,  and  Grimaldi  always  declared  that  it  was  a  very 
comfortable  way  of  travelling,  as  no  doubt  it  is. 

"Laugh  away  !"  he_said,  as  die  party  gave  vent  to  their  de- 
light in  bursts  of  merriment.  "  If  we  had  only  something  here 
to  warm  us  internally  as  well  as  the  great-coat  does  externally, 
we  would  laugh  all  night." 

"  What  should  you  recommend  for  that  purpose  r"  asked  the 

"Brandy,"  said  the  friend. 

"Then,"  rejoined  the  neighbour,  "if  you  were  a  harlequin, 
instead  of  a  clown,  you  could  not  have  conjured  it  up  quicker." 
And  with  these  words,  the  neighbour,  who  was  a  plump,  red- 
faced,  merry  fellow,  held  up  with  both  hands  a  large  heavy  stone 
bottle,  with  an  inverted  drinking-horn  resting  on  the  bung ; 
and  having  laughed  very  much  at  his  own  forethought,  he  set 
the  stone  bottle  down,  and  sat  himself  on  the  top  of  it. 

It  was  the  only  thing  wanting  to  complete  the  mirth  of  the 
party,  and  very  merry  they  were.  It  was  a  fine  moonlight  night, 
cold,  but  healthy  and  fresh,  and  it  passed  pleasantly  and  quickly 
away.  The  day  had  broken  before  they  reached  Billingsgate- 
stairs;  the  stone-bottle  was  empty,  the  neighbour  asleep, 
Grimaldi  and  the  young  lady  buttoned  up  in  the  great-coat, 
and  the  wife  and  daughter  very  jocose  and  good-humoured. 

Here  they  parted:  the  neighbour's  family  went  home  in  a 
hackney-coach,  and  Grimaldi,  bidding  them  f^od-bye,  walked 
away  to  Gracechurch-street,  not  forgetting  to  thank  the  young 
lady  for  her  humanity  and  coo^assion. 

He  had  occasion  to  call  at  a  coach-office  in  Gracechurch- 
street  ;  but  finding  that  it  was  not  yet  open  (for  it  was  very 
early),  and  not  feeling  at  all  fatigued  by  his  journey,  he  deter- 
mined to  walk  about  the  city  for  a  couple  of  hours  or  so,  and 
then  to  return  to  the  coach-office.  By  so  doing,  he  would  pass 
away  the  time  till  the  office  opened,  gain  an  opportunity  of 
looking  about  him  in  that  part  of  London,  to  which  he  was 
quite  a  stranger,  and  avoid  disturbing  *he  family  at  home  until 
a  more  seasonable  hour.  So  he  made  up  his  mind  to  walk  the 
two  hours  away,  and  turned  back  for  &at  purpose. 




An  extraordinary  circumstance  concerning  himself,  with  another  extraordinary 
circumstance  concerning  his  grandfather — Specimen  of  a  laconic  epistle,  and 
an  account  of  two  interviews  with  Mr.  Hughes,  in  the  latter  of  which  a  bene- 
volent gentleman  is  duly  rewarded  for  his  trouble — Preparations  for  his 
marriage— Fatiguing  effects  of  his  exertions  at  the  Theatre. 

IT  was  now  broad  day.  The  sun  had  risen,  and  was  shedding  a 
fine  mild  light  over  the  quiet  street.  The  crowd  so  soon  to  be 
let  loose  upon  them  was  not  yet  stirring,  and  the  only  people 
visible  were  the  passengers  who  had  landed  from  the  boats,  or 
who  had  just  entered  London  by  other  early  conveyances.  Al- 
though he  had  lived  in  London  all  his  life,  he  knew  far  less 
about  it  than  many  country  people  who  have  visited  it  once  or 
twice  ;  and  so  unacquainted  was  he  with  the  particular  quarter 
of  the  city  in  which  he  found  himself,  that  he  had  never  even 
seen  the  Tower  of  London.  He  walked  down  to  look  at  that ; 
and  then  he  stared  at  the  buildings  round  about,  and  the 
churches,  and  a  thousand  objects  which  no  one  but  a  loiterer 
ever  bestows  a  glance  upon  ;  and  so  was  walking  on  pleasantly 
enough,  when  all  at  once  he  struck  his  foot  against  something 
which  was  lying  on  the  pavement. 

Looking  down  to  see  what  it  was,  he  perceived,  to  his  great 
surprise,  a  richly-ornamented  net  purse,  of  a  very  large  size, 
filled  with  gold  coin. 

He  was  perfectly  paralyzed  by  the  sight.  He  looked  at  it 
again  and  again  without  daring  to  touch  it.  Then,  by  a  sudden 
impulse,  he  glanced  cautiously  round,  and  seeing  that  he  was 
wholly  unobserved,  and  that  there  was  not  a  solitary  being 
within  sight,  he  picked  up  the  purse  and  thrust  it  into  his 

As  he  stooped  for  this  purpose,  he  observed,  lying  on  the 
ground  on  very  nearly  the  same  spot,  a  small  bundle  of  papers 
tied  round  with  a  piece  of  string.  He  picked  them  up  too, 
mechanically.  What  was  his  astonishment,  on  examining  this 
last  discovery  more  narrowly,  to  find  that  the  bundle  was  com- 
posed exclusively  of  bank-notes ! 

There  was  still  nobody  to  be  seen :  there  were  no  passers-by, 
no  sound  of  footsteps  in  the  adjacent  streets.  He  lingered  about 
the  spot  for  more  than  an  hour,  eagerly  scrutinizing  the  faces 



o±  the  people,  who  now  began  passing  to  and  fro,  with  looks 
which  themselves  almost  seemed  to  inquire  whether  they  had 
lost  anything.  No  !  there  was  no  inquiry,  no  searching ;  no 
person  ran  distractedly  past  him,  or  groped  among  the  mud  by 
the  pavement's  side.  It  was  evidently  of  no  use  waiting  there  ; 
and,  quite  tired  of  doing  so,  he  turned  and  walked  slowly  back 
to  the  coach-office  in  Gracechurch-street.  He  met  or  overtook 
no  person  on  the  road  who  appeared  to  have  lost  anything,  far 
less  the  immense  sum  of  money  (for  such  it  appeared  to  him) 
that  he  had  found. 

All  this  time,  and  for  hours  afterwards,  he  was  in  a  state  of 
turmoil  and  agitation  almost  inconceivable.  He  felt  as  if  he 
had  committed  some  dreadful  theft,  and  feared  discovery,  and 
the  shameful  punishment  which  must  follow  it.  His  legs 
trembled  beneath  him  so  that  he  could  scarcely  walk,  his  heart 
beat  violently,  and  the  perspiration  started  on  his  face. 

The  more  he  reflected  upon  the  precise  nature  of  his  situation, 
the  more  distressed  and  apprehensive  he  became.  Suppose  the 
money  were  to  be  found  upon  him  by_  the  loser,  who  would 
believe  him,  when  he  declared  that  he  picked  it  up  in  the  street? 
Would  it  not  appear  much  more  probable  that  he  had  stolen  it? 
and  if  such  a  charge  were  brought  against  him,  by  what  evi- 
dence could  he  rebut  it  ?  As  these  thoughts,  and  twenty  such, 
passed  through  his  mind,  he  was  more  than  once  tempted  to 
draw  the  money  from  his  pocket,  fling  it  on  the  pavement,  and 
take  to  his  heels ;  which  he  was  only  restrained  from  doing  by 
reflecting,  that  if  he  were  observed  and  questioned,  his  answers 
might  at  once  lead  him  to  be  accused  of  a  charge  of  robbery,  in 
which  case  he  would  be  as  badly  off  as  if  he  were  in  the  grasp 
of  the  real  loser.  It  would  appear  at  first  sight  a  very  lucky 
thing  to  find  such  a  purse  ;  but  Grimaldi  thought  himself  far 
from  fortunate  as  these  torturing  thoughts  filled  his  mind. 

When  he  got  to  Gracechurch-street,  he  found  the  coach-office 
still  closely  shut,  and  turning  towards  home  through  Coleman- 
streetand  Finsbury-  square,  he  passed  into  the  City-road,  which 
then,  with  the  exception  of  a  few  houses  in  the  immediate 
neighbourhood  of  the  Angel  at  Islington,  was  entirely  lined  on 
both  sides  with  the  grounds  of  market-gardeners.  This  was  a 
favourable  place  to  count  the  treasure  ;  so,  sitting  down  upon  a 
bank  in  a  retired  spot,  just  where  the  Eagle  Tavern  now  stands, 
he  examined  his  prize.  The  gold  in  the  purse  was  all  in 
guineas.  ^  The  whole  contents  of  the  bundle  were  in  bank-notes, 
varying  in  their  amounts  from  five  to  fifty  pounds  each.  And 
this  was  all  there  was  ;  no  memorandum,  no  card,  no  scrap  of 
paper,  no  document  of  any  kind  whatever,  afforded  the  slightest 
clue  to  the  name  or  residence  of  the  owner.  Besides  the  money, 
there  was  nothing  but  the  piece  of  string  which  kept  the  notes 
together,  and  the  handsome  silk  net  purse  before  mentioned, 
Which  held  the  gold. 


He  could  not  count  the  money  then,  for  his  fingers  trembled 
so  that  he  could  scarcely  separate  the  notes,  and  he  was  so  con- 
fused and  bewildered  that  he  could  not  reckon  the  gold.  He 
counted  it  shortly  after  he  reached  home,  though,  and  found 
that  there  were  380  guineas,  and  200?.  in  notes,  making  in  the 
whole  the  sum  of  599 1. 

He  reached  home  between  seven  and  eight  o'clock,  where, 
going  instantly  to  bed,  he  remained  sound  asleep  for  several 
hours.  There  was  no  news  respecting  the  money,  which  he 
longed  to  appropriate  to  his  own  use  ;  so  he  put  it  carefully  by, 
determining  of  course  to  abstain  rigidly  from  doing  so,  and  to 
use  all  possible  means  to  discover  the  owner. 

He  did  not  forget  the  advice  of  Miss  Hughes  in  the  hurry 
and  excitement  consequent  upon  his  morning's  adventure,  but 
wrote  another  epistle  to  the  father,  recapitulating  the  substance 
of  a  former  letter,  and  begged  to  be  favoured  with  a  reply. 

Having  despatched  this  to  the  post-office,  he  devoted  the 
remainder  of  the  day  to  a  serious  consideration  of  the  line  of 
action  it  would  be  most  proper  to  adopt  with  regard  to  the  five- 
hundred  and  ninety-nine  pounds  so  suddenly  acquired.  Even- 
tually, he  resolved  to  consult  an  old  and  esteemed  friend  of  his 
father's,  upon  whose  judgment  he  knew  he  might  depend,  and 
whose  best  advice  he  felt  satisfied  he  could  command. 

This  determination  he  carried  into  execution  that  same 
evening  ;  and  after  a  long  conversation  with  the  gentleman  in 
question,  during  which  he  met  all  the  young  man's  natural  and 
probably  apparent  inclination  to  apply  the  money  to  his  own 
occasions  and  views  with  arguments  and  remarks  which  were 
wholly  unanswerable,  he  submitted  to  be  guided  by  him,  and 
acted  accordingly. 

For  a  whole  week  the  two  ^  friends  carefully  examined  every 
paper  which  was  published  in  London,  if  not  in  the  hope,  at 
least  in  the  expectation,  of  seeing  the  loss  advertised ;  but, 
strange  as  it  may  seem,  nothing  of  the  kind  appeared.  At  the 
end  of  the  period  named,  an  advertisement,  of  which  the  fol- 
lowing is  a  copy,  (their  joint  production,)  appeared  in  the  daily 
papers : — 

"Found  by  a  gentleman  in  the  streets  of  London,  some  money, 
which  will  be  restored  to  the  owner  upon  his  giving  a  satisfac- 
tory account  of  the  manner  of  its  loss,  its  amount,  the  numbers 
of  the  notes,  &c.  &c." 

To  this  was  appended  a  full  and  particular  address  :  but,  not- 
withstanding all  these  precautions,  notwithstanding  the  pub- 
licity that  was  given  to  the  advertisement,  and  notwithstanding' 
that  the  announcement  was  frequently  repeated, — from  that 
hour  to  the  very  last  moment  of  nis  life,  Grimaldi  never  heard 
one  word  or  syllable  regarding  the  treasure  he  had  so  singularly 
acquired ;  nor  was  he  ever  troubled  with  any  one  application 
relative  to  the  notice. 

A  somewhat  similar  circumstance  occurred  to  his  maternal 


grandfather.*  He  was  in  the  habit  of  attending  Leadenhall 
Market  early  every  Thursday  morning,  and  as  he_  frequently 
made  large  purchases,  his  purse  was  generally  well  lined.  Upon 
one  occasion,  he  took  with  him  nearly  four  hundred  pounds, 
principally  in  gold  and  silver,  which  formed  a  tolerably  large 
bagful,  the  weight  of  which  rather  impeded  his  progress.  When 
he  arrived  near  the  Royal  Exchange,  he  found  that  his  shoe  had 
become  unbuckled,  and  taking  from  his  pocket  the  bag,  which 
•would  otherwise  have  prevented  his  stooping,  (for  he  was  a  cor- 
pulent man),  he  placed  it  upon  a  neighbouring  post,  and  then 
proceeded  to  adjust  his  buckle.  This  done,  he  went  quietly  on 
to  market,  thinking  nothing  of  the  purse  or  its  contents  until 
some  time  afterwards,  when,  having  to  pay  for  a  heavy  purchase, 
he  missed  it,  and  after  some  consideration  recollected  the  place 
where  he  had  left  it.  He  hurried  to  the  spot.  Although  more 
than  three  quarters  of  an  hour  had  elapsed  since  he_  had  left  it 
in  the  prominent  situation  already  described,  there  it  remained 
safe  and  untouched  on  the  top  of  the  post  in  the  open  street ! 

Tour  anxious  days  (he  had  both  money  and  a  wife  at  stake) 
gassed  heavily  away,  but  on  the  fifth,  Saturday — a  reply  arrived 
irqm  Mr.  Hughes,  which  being  probably  one  of  the  shortest 
epistles  ever  received  through  the  hands  of  the  general  postman, 
is  subjoined  verbatim. 


"  Expect  to  see  me  in  a  few  days. 

"Yours  truly, 

"  E.  HUGHES/' 

If  there  was  nothing  decidedly  favourable  to  be  drawn  from 
this  brief  onorfeau,  there  was  at  least  nothing  very  appalling  to 
his  hopes:  it  was  evident  that  Mr.  Hughes  was  not  greatly 
offended  at  his  presumption,  and  probable  that  he  might  be 
eventually  induced  to  give  his  consent  to  Grimaldi's  marriage 
with  his  daughter.  This  conclusion,  to  which  he  speedily  came, 
tended  greatly  to  elevate  his  spirits ;  nor  did  they  meet  with  any 
check  from  the  sudden  appearance  of  Miss  Hughes  from  Graves- 

The  meeting  was  a  joyful  one  on  both  sides.  As  soon  as  their 
mutual  greetings  were  over,  he  showed  her  her  father's  letter, 
of  which  she  appeared  to  take  but  little  notice. 

"Why,  Maria!"  he  exclaimed,  with  some  surprise,  "you 
Scarcely  look  upon  this  letter,  and  seem  to  care  little  or  nothing1 
about  it!" 

"  To  tell  you  the  truth,  Joe,"  answered  Miss  Hughes,  smiling, 
"my  father  has  already  arrived  in  town  :  I  found  him  at  home 
when  I  got  there  two  or  three  hours  back,  and  he  desired  me  to 
tell  you  that  he  wishes  to  see  you  on  Monday  morning1,  if  you 
will  call  at  the  theatre." 

*  The  slaughterman  and  carcase-butcher  of  Bloomsbury,  and  Newton-street, 


Cpon  hearing  this,  all  the  old  nervous  symptoms  returned, 
and  he  felt  as  though  he  were  about  to  receive  a  hnal  death-blow 
to  his  hopes. 

"You  may  venture  to  take  courage,  I  think,"  said  Miss 
Hughes  ;  "L  have  very  little  fear  or  doubt  upon  the  subject." 

Her  admirer  had  a  good  deal  of  both ;  but  he  was  somewhat 
re-assured  by  the  young  lady's  manner,  and  her  conviction  that 
her  father,  who  had  always  treated  her  most  kindly  and  indul- 
gently, would  not  desert  her  then.  Comforted  by  discussing  the 
probabilities  of  success,  and  all  the  happiness  that  was  to  follow 
it,  they  spent  the  remainder  of  the  clay  happily  enough,  and 
looked  forward  as  calmly  as  they  could  to  the  Monday  which 
was  to  decide  their  fate. 

The  following  ^  day — Sunday — was  rather  a  wearisome  one, 
being  occupied  with  speculations  as  to  what  the  morrow  would 
bring  forth.  ,  However,  long  as  it  seemed,  the  night  arrived  at 
last ;  and  though  that  was  long  too,  Monday  morning  succeeded 
it  as  usual- 
Concealing  his  inward  agitation  as  best  he  might,  he  walked 
to  the  theatre,  and  there  in  the  treasury  found  Mr.  Hughes. 
He  was  received  very  kindly,  but,  after  some  trivial  conver- 
sation, was  much  astonished  by  Mr.  Hughes  saying,  "  So  you 
are  going  to  leave  Sadler's  Wells,  and  all  your  old  Mends,  merely 
because  you  can  get  a  trifle  more  elsewhere, — eh,  Joe  ?" 

He  was  so  amazed  at  this,  he  could  scarcely  speak,  but  quickly 
recovering,  said,  "  I  can  assure  you,  sir,  that  no  such  idea  ever 
entered  my  head ; — in  fact,  even  if  I  wished  such  a  thing,  which, 
Heaven  knows,  is  furthest  from  my  thoughts  !  I  could  not  do 
so,  being-  under  articles  to  you." 

"  You  forget,"  replied  Mr.  Hughes,  somewhat  sternly,  "your 
articles  have  expired  here." 

And  so  they  had,  and  so  he  had  forgotten,  and  so  he  was  con- 
strained to  confess. 

"  It  is  rather  odd,"  continued  Mr.  Hughes,  "  that  so  impor- 
tant a  circumstance  should  have  escaped  your  memory :  but 
tell  me,  do  you  know  Mr.  Cross  ? " 

Mr.  Cross  was  manager  of  the  Circus,  now  the  Surrey  Theatre, 
and  had  repeatedly  made  Grimaldi  offers  to  leave  Sadler's 
Wells,  and  join  his  company.  He  had  done  so,  indeed,  only  a 
few  days  prior  to  this  conversation,  offering  to  allow  him  to 
name  his  own  terms.  But  these  and  other  similar  invitations 
he  had  firmly  declined,  being  unwilling  for  many  reasons  to 
leave  the  theatre  to  which  he  had  been  accustomed  all  his  life. 

From  this  observation  of  Mr.  Hughes,  and  the  manner  in 
which  it  was  made,  it  was  obvious  to  him  that  some  one  had 
endeavoured  to  injure  him  in  that  gentleman's  opinion;  and 
fortunately  chancing  to  have  in  his  pocket-book  the  letters  he 
had  received  from  Mr.  Cross,  and  copies  of  his  own  replies,  he 
lost  no  time  in  clearing  himself  of  the  charge. 

"  My  dear  sir,"  he  said,  "  I  do  not  know  Mr.  Cross  personally, 


but  very  well  as  a  correspondent,  inasmuch  as  lie  has  repeatedly 
written,  offering  engagements  to  me,  all  of  which  I  have  de- 
clined ;"  and  he  placed  the  papers  before  him. 

The  perusal  of  these  letters  seemed  to  satisfy  Mr.  Hughes, 
who  returned  them,  and  said  smilingly,  "Well  then,  we'll  talk 
about  a  fresh  engagement  here,  as  you  prefer  old  quarters.  Let 
me  see  :  your  salary  is  now  four  pounds  per  week : — well,  I  will 
engage  you  for  three  seasons,  and  the  terms  shall  be  these :  for 
the  first  season,  six  pounds  per  week ;  for  the  second,  seven ;  and 
for  the  third,  eight.  Will  that  do  ? " 

He  readily  agreed  to  a  proposition  which,  handsome  in  itself, 
greatly  exceeded  anything  he  had  anticipated.  As  Mr.  Hughes 
seemed  anxious  to  have  the  affair  settled,  and  Grimaldiwas 
perfectly  content  that  it  should  be,  two  witnesses  were  sent  for, 
and  the  articles  were  drawn  up,  and  signed  upon  the  spot. 

Then  again  they  were  left  alone,  and  after  a  few  moments 
more  of  desultory  conversation,  Mr.  Hughes  rose,  saying,  "  I 
shall  see  you,  I  suppose,  in  the  evening,  as  I  am  going  to  Drury 
Lane  to  see  Blue  Beard."  He  advanced  towards  the  door  as  he 
spoke,  and  then  suddenly  turning  round,  added,  "Have  you 
anything  else  to  say  to  me  ?" 

Now  was  the  time,  or  never.  Screwing  his  courage  to  the 
sticking-place,  Grimaldi  proceeded  to  place  before  Mr.  Hughes 
his  hopes  and  prospects,  strongly  urging  that  his  own  happiness 
and  that  of  his  daughter  depended  upon  his  consent  being  given 
to  their  marriage. 

Mr.  Hughes  had  thought  over  the  subject  well,  and  displayed 
by  no  means  that  displeasure  which  the  young  man's  anxious 
fears  had  prophesied ;  he  urged  the  youth  of  both  parties  as  an 
argument  against  acceding  to  their  wishes,  but  finally  gave  his 
consent,  and  by  so  doing  transported  the  lover  with  joy. 

Mr.  Hughes  advanced  to  the  door  of  the  room,  and  throwing 
it  open,  as  he  went  out,  said  to  his  daughter,  who  chanced  to  be 
sitting  in  the  next  room,  "  Maria,  Joe  is  here  :  you  had  better 
come  and  welcome  him." 

Miss  Hughes  came  like  a  dutiful  daughter,  and  did  welcome 
her  faithful  admirer,  as  he  well  deserved  for  his  true-hearted  and 
constant  affection.  In  the  happiness  of  the  moment,  the  fact 
that  the  door  of  the  room  was  standing  wide  open  quite  escaped 
the  notice  of  both,  who  never  once  recollected  the  possibility 
of  any  third  person  being  an  unseen  witness  to  the  interview. 

This  was  a  red-letter  day  in  Grimaldi's  calendar;  he  had 
nothing  to  do  in  the  evening  at  Drury  Lane  until  the  last  scene 
but  one  of  Blue  Beard,  so  went  shopping  with  his  future  wife, 
buying  divers  articles  of  plate,  and  such  other  small  wares  as 
young  housekeepers  require. 

On  hurrying  to  the  theatre  at  night,  he  found  Mr.  Hughes 
anxiously  regarding  the  machinery  of  the  last  scene  in  Blue 
Beard,  wnich  he  was  about  getting  up  at  the  Exeter  Theatre. 


"  This  machinery  is  very  intricate,  Joe,"  said  the  father-in- 
law  upon  seeing  him. 

"  You  are  right,  sir,"  replied  Joe ;  "  and,  what  is  more,  it 
works  very  badly." 

"  So  I  should  expect,"  was  the  reply ;  "  and  as  I  am  afraid 
we  shall  not  manage  this  very  well  in  the  country,  I  wish  I 
could  improve  it." 

Among  the  numerous  modes  of  employing  any  spare  time  to 
which  Grimaldi  resorted  for  the  improvement  of  a  vacant  hour, 
the  invention  of  model  transformations  and  pantomime  tricks 
held  a  foremost  place  at  that  time,  and  did,  though  in  a  limited 
degree,  to  the  close  of  his  life. 

At  the  time  of  his  death  he  had  many  excellent  models  of  this 
description,  besides  several  which  he  sold  to  Mr.  Bunn  so  re- 
cently as  a  few  months  prior  to  December,  1836,  all  of  which 
were  used  in  the  pantomime  of  "  Harlequin  and  Gammer 
Gurton,"  produced  at  Drury  Lane  on  the  26th  of  that  month. 
He  rarely  allowed  any  machinery  which  came  under  his 
notice,  especially  if  a  little  peculiar,  to  pass  without  modelling 
it  upon  a  small  scale.  He  had  a  complete  model  of  the  skele- 
ton "  business"  in  Blue  Beard  ;  and  not  merely  that,  but  an  im- 
provement of  his  own  besides,  by  which  the  intricate  nature  of 
the  change  might  be  avoided,  and  many  useless  Haps  dispensed 

Nervously  anxious  to  elevate  himself  as  much  as  possible  in 
the  opinion  of  Mr.  Hughes  at  this  particular  juncture,  he 
eagerly  explained  to  him  the  nature  of  his  alterations,  as  far  as 
the  models  were  concerned,  and  plainly  perceived  he  was  agree- 
ably surprised  at  the  communication.  He  begged  his  acceptance 
of  models,  both  of  the  original  mechanism,  and  of  his  o\yn 
improved  version  of  it ;  and  Mr.  Hughes,  in  reply,  invited  him 
to  breakfast  on  the  following  morning,  and  requested  him  to 
bring  both  models  with  him,  This  he  failed  not  to  do.  It  hap- 
pened that  a  rather  ludicrous  scene  awaited  him. 

He  had  one  or  two  enemies  connected  at  that  time  with 
Sadler's  Wells,  who  allowed  their  professional  envy  to  impel 
them  to  divers  acts  of  small  malignity.  One  of  these  persons, 
having  been  told  of  his  saluting  Miss  Hughes,  by  a  servant  girl 
with  whom  he  chanced  to  be  acquainted,  and  who  had  witnessed 
the  action,  sought  and  obtained  an  interview  that  evening  with 
the  father  upon  his  return  from  Drury  Lane,  and  stated  the 
circumstance  to  him,  enlarging  and  embellishing  the  details  with 
divers  comments  upon  the  ingratitude  of  Grimaldi  in  seducing 
the  affections  of  a  young  lady  so  much  above  him,  and  making 
various  wise  and  touching  reflections  most  in  vogue  on  such 

Mr.  Hughes  heard  all  this  with  a  calmness  which  first  of  all 
astonished  the  speaker,  but  which  he  eventually  attributed  tu 
concentrated  rage.  After  he  had  finished  his  speech,  the  former 


quietly  said,  ""Will  you  favour  me  by  coming  here  at  nine 
o'clock  to-morrow  morning,  sir  ?" 

"  Most  certainly,"  was  the  reply. 

"  Allow  me,  however,  at  once,"  continued  Mr.  Hughes,  "  to 
express  my  thanks  for  your  kindness  in  informing  me  of  that 
which  so  nearly  concerns  my  domestic  happiness.  "Will  you 
take  a  glass  of  madeira  ?" 

"I  thank  you,  sir,"  answered  the  other. 

The  wine  was  brought  and  drunk,  and  the  friend  departed, 
congratulating  himself,  as  he  walked  away,  upon  having 
"  settled  Joe's  business  ;"  which  indeed  he  had,  but  not  after  the 
fashion  he  expected  or  intended. 

As  to  Grimaldi,  he  was  up  with  the  lark,  arranging  the 
machinery  and  making  it  look  and  work  to  the  best  advantage ; 
in  which  having  succeed  id  to  his  heart's  content,  he  put  the 
models  he  had  promised  Mr.  Hughes  into  his  pocket,  and  walked 
down  to  his  house  to  breakfast,  agreeably  to  the  arrangement  of 
the  night  before.  , 

Upon  his  arrival,  he  was  told  that  breakfast  was  not  quite 
ready,  and  likewise  that  Mr.  Hughes  wished  to  see  him  imme- 
diately in  the  treasury,  where  he  was  then  awaiting  his  arrival. 
There  was  something  in  the  manner  of  the  servant- girl  (the 
same,  by-the-by,  who  had  told  of  the  kissing),  as  she  said  this, 
which  induced  him  involuntarily  to  fear  some  ill,  and,  without 
knowing  exactly  why,  he  began  to  apprehend  those  thousand 
and  one  impossible,  or  at  least  improbable,  evils,  the  dread  of 
which  torments  the  man  nervously  afraid  of  losing  some  treasure 

"  Is  Mr.  Hughes  alone  ?"  he  asked. 

"No,  sir,"  answered  the  girl:  "there  is  a  gentleman  with 
him ;"— and  then  she  mentioned  a  name  which  increased  his 
apprehensions.  However,  plucking  up  all  his  courage,  he  ad- 
vanced to  the  appointed  chamber,  and  in  two  minutes  found 
himself  in  the  presence  of  Mr.  Hughes  and  his  accuser. 

The  former  received  him  coldly ;  the  latter  turned  away  when 
he  saw  him,  without  vouchsafing  a  word. 

"  Come  in,  sir,"  said  Mr.  Hughes,  "  and  close  the  door  after 
you."  He  did  as  he  was  told ;  never,  either  before  or  after- 
wards, feeling  so  strangely  like  a  criminal. 

"Mr.  Grimaldi,'^ continued  Mr.  Hughes,  with  a  mingled  for- 
mality and  solemnity  which  appalled  him,  "I  have  something 
very  important  to  communicate  to  you  —  in  fact,  I  have  had 
a  charge  preferred  against  you  of  a  most  serious  description, 

"  Indeed,  sir !" 

"  Yes,  indeed,  sir  !"  said  the  enemy,  with  a  look  very  like  one 
ot  triumph. 

"  It  is  true,"  replied  Mr.  Hughes,  "  and  I  fear  you  will  not  be 
able  to  clear  yourself  from  it :  however,  in  justice  to  you,  the 


charge  shall  be  fully  stated  in  your  own  presence.  Repeat,  sir, 
if  you  please,"  he  continued,  addressing  the  accuser,  "  what  you 
told  me  last  night." 

And  repeat  it  he  did,  in  a  speech,  replete  with  malignity,  and 
not  destitute  of  oratorical  merit :  in  which  he  dwelt  upon  the 
serpent-like  duplicity  with  which  young  Grimaldi  had  stolen 
into  the  bosom  of  a  happy  and  hospitable  family  for  the  purpose 
of  robbing  a  father  and  mother  of  their  beloved  daughter,  and 
dragging  down  from  her  own  respectable  sphere  a  young  and 
inexperienced  girl,  to  visit  her  with  all  the  sorrows  consequent 
upon  limited  means,  and  the  needy  home  of  a  struggling  actor. 

It  was  with  inexpressible  astonishment  that  he  heard  all  this ; 
but  still  greater  was  his  astonishment  at  witnessing  the  de- 
meanour of  Mr.  Hughes,  who  heard  this  lengthened  oration  with 
a  settled  frown  of  attention,  as  though  what  he  heard  alike 
excited  his  profound  consideration  and  anger ;  occasionally,  too, 
vouchsafing  an  encouraging  nod  to  the  speaker,  which  was  any- 
thing but  encouraging  to  the  other  party. 

"You  are  quite  right,"  said  Mr.  Hughes,  at  length;  on 
hearing  which,  Grimaldi  felt  quite  wrong.  "  You  are  quite 
right— nothing  can  justify  such  actions,  except  one  thing,  and 
that  is — " 

"Mr.  Hughes,"  interrupted  the  friend,  "I  know  your  kind 
heart  well, — so  well,  that  I  can  perceive  your  charitable  feelings 
are  even  now  striving  to  discover  some  excuse  or  palliation  for 
this  offence  ;  but  permit  me,  as  a  disinterested  observer,  to  tell 
you  that  nothing  can  justify  a  man  in  winning  the  affections  of 
a  young  girl  infinitely  above  him,  and,  at  the  same  time,  the 
daughter  of  one  to  whom  he  is  so  greatly  indebted." 

"Will  you  listen  to  me  for  half  a  minute?"  inquired  Mr. 
Hughes,  in  a  peculiarly  calm  tone. 

"  Certainly,  sir,"  answered  the  other. 

"  "Well,  then,  I  was  going  to  observe,  at  the  moment  when  you 
somewhat  rudely  interrupted  me,  that  I  quite  agreed  with  you, 
and  that  nothing  can  justify  a  man  in  acting  in  the  manner  you 
have  described,  unless,  indeed,  he  has  obtained  the  sanction  of 
the  young  lady's  parents ;  in  which  case,  he  is,  of  course,  at 
liberty  to  win  her  affections  as  soon  as  he  likes,  and  she  likes  to 
let  him." 

"Assuredly,  sir,"  responded  the  other;  "but  in  the  present 

"  But  in  the  present  instance,"  interrupted  Mr.  Hughes, 
"  that  happens  to  be  the  case.  My  daughter  Maria  has  my  full 
permission  to  marry  Mr.  Grimaldi ;  and  I  have  no  doubt  she 
will  avail  herself  of  that  permission  in  the  course  of  a  very  few 

The  accuser  was  dumb-foundered,  and  Grimaldi  was  delighted 
— now,  for  the  first  time  perceiving  that  Mr.  Hughes  had  been 
amusing  himself  at  the  expense  of  the  mischief-maker. 


"Nevertheless,"  said  Mr.  Hughes,  turning  to  his  accepted 
son-in-law  with  a  grave  face,  but  through  all  the  gravity  of 
which  he  could  perceive  a  struggling  smile, — "Nevertheless, 
you  acted  very  wrong,  Mr.  Grimaldi,  in  kissing  my  daughter  so 
publicly  ;  and  I  beg  that  whenever,  for  the  future,  you  and  she 
deem  it  essential  to  indulge  in  such  amusements,  it  may  be  done 
in  private.  This  is  rendered  necessary  by  the  laws  which  at 
present  govern  society,  and  I  am  certain  will  be  far  more  con- 
sonant to  the  feelings  and  delicacy  of  the  young  lady  in  ques- 

With  these  words  Mr.  Hughes  made  a  low  bow  to  the  officious 
and  disinterested  individual  who  had  made  the  speech,  and, 
opening  the  door,  called  to  the  servants  "to  show  the  gentleman 
out."  Then  turning  to  Grimaldi,  he  took  him  by  the  arm,  and 
walked  towards  the  breakfast-room,  declaring  that  the  meal  had 
been  waiting  half  an  hour  or  more,  that  the  coffee  would  be 
cold,  and  Maria  quite  tired  of  waiting  for  him. 

From  this  moment  the  course  of  true  love  ran  smooth  for 
once  :  and  Mr.  Hughes,  in  all  his  subsequent  behaviour  to 
Grimaldi  sufficiently  evinced  his  high  sense  of  the  innate  worth 
of  a  young  man,  who,  under  very  adverse  circumstances  and 
with  many  temptations  to  contend  against,  had  behaved  with 
so  much  honesty  and  candour. 

On  the  Saturday  after  this  pleasant  termination  of  a  scene 
which  threatened  to  be  attended  with  very  different  results,  the 
house  in  Penton-street  was  taken  possession  of,  and  next  Easter 
Sunday  the  young  couple  were  asked  in  church  for  the  iirst 
time.  Sadler's  Wells  opened  as  usual  on  Easter  Monday,*  and 
Grimaldi  appeared  in  a  new  part,  a  more  prominent  one  than 

•  Sadler's  Wells,  on  Easter  Monday,  April  9,  1798,  opened  with  a  Prelude, 
entitled,  "  Easter  Monday ;  or,  a  Peep  at  the  Wells."  The  prolocutory  cha- 
racters by  Dubois  and  Mrs.  Davis :  m  the  concluding  scene  were  introduced 
the  whole  Company,  and  a  Ballet  Divertissement ;  the  dances  by  the  Missea 
Bruguiers,  their  first  appearances,  and  by  Mr.  King,  who,  it  will  be  remembered, 
in  the  recital  of  the  alarm  created  by  the  Pentonville  robbers,  is  said,  "while 
armed  with  a  heavy  stick,  to  have  crept  cautiously  into  the  back  garden,  groped 
about,  and  soon  returned  out  of  breath."  The  amusements  of  the  evenine  con- 

our.  j^aviB,  »nu  jjur.  JLTUDOIS,  .miss  uruguier,  ana  Mrs.  Jtoney.  Joe  lor  the  first 
time,  on  the  bill  of  the  day,  has  the  honourable  distinction  of  Mr.  prefixed  to  his 
name ;  hitherto  it  was  "  Master  Grimaldi."  On  Monday,  July  30,  was  produced 
a  new  Grand  Comic  Spectacle  and  Harlequinade,  called  "  Blue  Beard,  Black 
Beard,  Bed  Beard,  and  Grey  Beard ;"  in  which  the  motley  hero  of  Pantomime, 
it  was  announced,  would  respectfully  endeavour  to  keep  up  the  spirit  of  the  old 
English  adage, 

"  'Tis  merry  in  Hall,  when  Beards  wag  all," 

in  the  novel  character  of  Harlequin  Dutch  Skipper.  Harlequin  Skipper,  Mr. 
King;  Plutus,  Blue  Beard,  Mr.  Barnett;  Mars,  Black  Beard,  Mr.  Davis; 
Saturn,  Grey  Beard,  Mr.  Grimaldi ;  Mynheer  Eed  Beard,  Mr.  Gomery ;  Dutch 
Clown,  Mr.  Dubois ;  and  Columbine,  Miss  Bruguier.  The  Pantomime  was 
highly  attractive,  and  exhibited,  amongst  other  excellent  scenes,  one  in  moving 
perspective,  showing  the  effect  of  a  balloon  descending  among  the  clouds 


he  had  yet  had,  and  one  which  increased  his  reputation  con- 

At  this  time,  in  consequence  of  his  great  exertions  in  this 
character,  after  four  or  five  months  of  comparative  rest,  he  began 
to  feel  some  of  those  wastings  of  strength  and  prostrations  of 
energy,  to  which  this  class  of  performers  are  more  peculiarly 
exposed,  and  which  leave  them,  if  they  attain  old  age,  as  they 
left  Grimaldi  himself,  in  a  state  of  great  bodily  infirmity  and 
suffering.  He  was  cheered  throughout  the  play  ;  but  the 
applause  of  the  audience  only  spirited  him  to  increased  exer- 
tions, and  at  the  close  of  the  performances  he  was  so  exhausted 
and  worn  out  that  he  could  scarcely  stand.  It  was  with  great 
difficulty  that  he  reached  his  home,  although  the  distance  was 
so  very  slight ;  and  immediately  on  doing  so,  he  was  obliged  to 
be  put  to  bed. 

He  was  wont  in  after-life  frequently  to  remark,  that  if  at  one 
period  of  his  career  his  gains  were  great,  his  labours  were  at 
least  equally  so,  and  deserved  the  return.  He  spoke  from  sad 
experience  of  their  effects  at  that  time,  and  he  spoke  the  truth. 
It  must  be  a  very  high  salary,  indeed,  that  could  ever  repay  a 
man — and  especially  a  feeling,  sensitive  man,  as  Grimaldi 
really  was — for  premature  old  age  and  early  decay. 

He  awoke  at  eleven  o'clock  next  day  invigorated  and  re- 
freshed ; — this  long  rest  was  an  extraordinary  indulgence  for 
him  to  take,  for  it  was  his  constant  habit  to  be  up  and  clressed 
by  seven  o'clock  or  earlier,  either  attending  to  his  pigeons, 
practising  the  violin,  occupying  himself  in  constructing  such 
little  models  as  have  been  before  mentioned,  or  employing  him- 
self in  some  way.  Idleness  wearied  him  more  than  labour ;  he 
never  could  understand  the  gratification  which  many  people 
seem  to  derive  from  having  nothing  to  do. 

It  is  customary  on  the  morning  after  a  new  piece  to  "  call "  it 
upon  the  stage  with  a  view_  of  condensing  it  where  it  will  admit 
of  condensation,  and  making  such  improvements  as  the  expe- 
rience of  one  night  may  have  suggested.  All  the  performers 
engaged  in  the  piece  of  course  attend  these  "  calls,"  as  any 
alterations  will  necessarily  affect  the  dialogue  of  their  parts,  or 
some  portions  of  the  stage  business  connected  with  them. 

Being  one  of  the  principal  actors  in  the  new  drama,  it  was 
indispensably  necessary  that  he  should  attend,  and  accordingly, 
much  mortified  at  finding  it  so  late,  he  dressed  with  all  possible 
despatch,  and  set  forth  towards  the  theatre. 




Tribulations  connected  with  "Old  Lucas,"  the  constable,  with  an  account  of  the 
subsequent  proceedings  before  Mr.  Blamire,  the  magistrate,  at  Hatton 
Garden,  and  the  mysterious  appearance  of  a  silver  staff— A  guinea  wager 
•with  a  jocose  friend  on  the  Dartford-road — The  Prince  of  "Wales,  Sheridan, 
and  the  Crockery  Girl. 

AT  this  time  all  the  ground  upon  which  Claremont,  Myddle- 
ton,  Lloyd,  and  Wilmington  Squares  have  since  been  built, 
together  with  the  numberless  streets  which  diverge  from  them 
in  all  directions,  was  then  pasture-land  or  garden-ground,  bear- 
ing the  name  of  Sadler's  Wells  Fields.  Across  these  fields  it  was 
of  course  necessary  that  Grimaldi  should  pass  and  repass  in 
going  to  and  returning  from  the  theatre.  Upon  this  particular 
morning,  a  mob,  consisting  of  at  least  a  thousand  persons,  were 
actively  engaged  here  in  hunting  an  over- driven  ox, — a  diver- 
sion then  in  very  high  repute  among  the  lower  orders  _  of  the 
metropolis,  but  which  is  now,  happily  for  the  lives  and  limbs  of 
the  more  peaceable  part  of  the  community,  falling  into  desue- 
tude :  there  not  being^  quite  so  many  open  spaces  or  waste 
grounds  to  chase  oxen  in,  as  there  used  to  be  a  quarter  of  a  cen- 
tury ago.  The  mob  was  a  very  dense  one,  comprised  of  the 
worst  characters ;  and  perceiving  that  it  would  be  a  task  of 
some  difficulty  to  clear  a  passage  through  it,  he  paused  for  a 
minute  or  two,  deliberating  whether  he  had  not  better  turn 
back  at  once  and  take  the  longer  but  less  obstructed  route  by 
the  Angel  at  Islington,  when  a  young  gentleman  whom  he  had 
never  seen  beforej  after  eyeing  him  with  some  curiosity,  walked 
up  and  said — 

" Is  not  your  name  Grimaldi,  sir?" 

"Yes,  sir,  it  is,"  replied  the  other.  "Pray,  may  I  inquire 
why  you  ask  the  question  ?" 

"Because,"  answered  the  stranger,  pointing  to  a  man  who 
stood  among  a  little  group  of  people  hard  by, — "  because  I  just 
now  heard  that  gentleman  mention  it  to  a  companion." 

The  person  whom  the  young  man  pointed  out  was  a  very  well 
known  character  about  Clerkenwell  and  its  vicinity,  being  an 
object  of  detestation  with  the  whole  of  the  neighbourhood.  _  This 
man  was  Lucas, — "Old  Lucas"  was  his  familiar  appellation, — 
and  he  filled  the  imposing  office  of  parish  constable.  Parish 
constables  are  seldom  very  popular  in  their  own  districts,  but 


Old  Lucas  was  more  unpopular  than  any  man  of  the  same  class ; 
and  if  the  stories  which  are  current  of  him  be  correct,  with  very 
good  reason,  unless  the  man  was  dreadfully  belied.  In  short, 
he  was  a  desperate  villain.  It  was  very  generally  understood  of 
him,  that  where  no  real  accusation  existed  against  a  man, 
his  course  of  proceeding  was  to  invent  a  false  one,  and  to  bolster 
it  up  with  the  most  unblushing  perjury,  and  an  _  ingenious 
system  of  false  evidence,  which  he  had  never  any  difficulty  in 
obtaining,  for  the  purpose  of  pocketing  certain  small  sums  which, 
under  the  title  of  "  expenses,"  were  paid  upon  the  conviction  of 
the  culprit. 

Being  well  acquainted  with  this  man's  reputation,  Grimaldi 
was  much  astonished,  and  not  at  all  pleasantly  so,  by  the  infor- 
mation he  had  just  received ;  and  he  inquired  with  considerable 
anxiety  and  apprehension,  whether  the  young  man  was  quite 
certain  that  it  was  his  name  which  the  constable  had  mentioned. 

"  Quite  certain,"  was  the  reply.  "  I  can't  have  made  any 
mistake  upon  the  subject,  because  he  wrote  it  down  in  his  book. ' 

"  Wrote  it  down  in  his  book  !"  exclaimed  Grimaldi. 

"  Yes,  he  did,  indeed,"  replied  the  other :  "  and  more  than 
that,  I  heard  him  say  to  another  man  beside  him,  that  *  he  could 
lay  hold  of  you  whenever  he  wanted  you.' " 

"  The  devil  he  did  !"  exclaimed  Grimaldi.  "  What  on  earth 
can  he  want  with  me  ?  Well,  sir,  at  all  events  I  have  to  thank 
you  for  your  kindness  in  informing  me,  although  I  am  not  much 
wiser  on  the  point  than  I  was  before." 

Exchanging  bows  with  the  stranger,  they  separated ;  the 
young  man  mixing  with  the  crowd,  and  Grimaldi  turning  back, 
and  going  to  the  theatre  by  the  longest  road,  with  the  double 
object  of  avoiding  Old  Lucas  and  keeping  out  of  the  way  of  the 
mad  ox. 

Having  to  attend  to  his  business  immediately  on  his  arrival 
at  the  theatre,  the  circumstance  escaped  his  memory,  nor  did  it 
occur  to  him  again  until  he  returned  thither  in  the  evening, 
shortly  before  the  performances  commenced,  when  being  re- 
minded of  it  by  some  accidental  occurrence,  he  related  the  morn- 
ing's conversation  to  some  of  his  more  immediate  associates, 
among  whom  were  Dubois,  a  celebrated  comic  actor,  another 
performer  of  the  name  of  Davis,  and  Richer,  a  very  renowned 
rope-dancer.  His  communication,  however,  elicited  no  more 
sympathetic  reception  than  a  general  burst  of  laughter,  which 
having  subsided,  they  fell  to  bantering  the  unfortunate  object  of 
Old  Lucas's  machinations. 

"  That  fellow  Lucas,"  said  Dubois,  assuming  a  grave  face,  "  is 
a  most  confirmed  scoundrel;  he  would  stick  at  nothing,  not 
even  at  Joe's  life,  to  gain  a  few  pounds,  or  perhaps  even  a  few 

Joe  looked  none  the  happier  for  this  observation,  and  another 
friend  took  up  the  subject. 


"Lucas, — Lucas,"  said  Richer;  "that  is  the  old  man  who 
wears  spectacles,  isn't  it  ?" 

"  That's  the  man,"  replied  Dubois ;  "  the  constable,  you  know. 
He  hasn't  written  your  name  down  in  his  book  for  nothing,  Joe, 
take  my  word  for  that." 

"  Precisely  my  opinion,"  said  Davis;  "he  means  to  make  a 
regular  property  out  of  him.  Don't  be  frightened,  Joe,  that's  all." 

These  prophetic  warnings  had  a  very  serious  effect  upon  the 

with  which  the  officer  meant  to  charge  him;  one  suggesting 
that  it  was  murder,  another  that  he  thought  it  was  forgery, 
(which  made  no  great  difference  in  the  end,  the  offence  being 
punished  with  the  same  penalty,)  and  a  third  good-naturedly 
remarking  that  perhaps  it  might  not  be  quite  so  bad,  after  all, 
although  certainly  Lucas  did  possess  such  weight  with  the 
magistrates,  that  it  was  invariably  two  to  one  against  the  unfor- 
tunate person  whom  he  charged  with  any  offence. 

Although  he  was  at  no  loss  to  discern  and  appreciate  the 
raillery  of  his  friends,  Grimaldi  could  not  divest  himself  of  some 
nervous  apprehensions  connected  with  the  adventure  of  the 
morning :  when,  just  as  he  was  revolving  in  his  mind  all  the  im- 
probabilities of  the  officer's  entertaining  any  designs  against 
him,  one  of  the  messengers  of  the  theatre  abruptly  entered  the 
room  in  which  they  were  all  seated,  and  announced  that  Mr. 
Grimaldi  was  wanted  directly  at  the  stage-door. 

"  Who  wants  me  ?"  inquired  Grimaldi,  turning  rather  pale. 

"  It's  a  person  in  spectacles,"  replied  the  messenger,  looking 
at  the  rest  of  the  company,  and  hesitating. 

"  A  person  in  spectacles !"  echoed  the  other,  more  agitated  than 
before.  "  Did  he  give  you  his  name,  or  do  you  know  who  he  is  •' 

"  0  yes,  I  know  who  he  is,"  answered  the  messenger^  with 
something  between  a  smile  and  a  gasp : — "  it's  Old  Lucas." 

Upon  this,  there  arose  a  roar  of  laughter,  in  which  the  mes- 
senger joined.  Grimaldi  was  quite  petrified,  and  stood  rooted 
to  the  spot,  looking  from  one  to  another  with  a  face  in  which 
dismay  and  fear  were  visibly  depicted. 

Having  exhausted  themselves  with  laughing,  his  companions, 
regarding  his  unhappy  face,  began  to  grow  serious,  and  Dubois 

"Joe,  my  boy,  a  joke's  a  joke,  you  know.  We  have  had  one 
with  you,  and  that  was  all  fair  enough,  and  it's  all  over ;  but  if 
there  is  anything  really  serious  in  this  matter,  we  will  prove 
ourselves  your  friends,  and  support  you  against  this  old  rascal 
in  any  way  in  our  power." 

All  the  others  said  something  of  the  same  sort,  for  which 
Grimaldi  thanked  them  very  heartily,  being  really  in  a  state 
of  great  discomfort,  and  entertaining  many  dismal  forebodings 


It  was  then  proposed  that  everybody  present  should  accompany 
him  in  a  body  to  the  stage-door,  and  be  witnesses  to  anything  that 
the  thief- taker  had  to  say  or  do ;  it  being  determined  beforehand 
that  in  the  event  of  his  being  insolent,  he  should  be  summarily 
put  into  the  New  Eiver.  Accordingly,  they  went  down  in  a 
body,  bearing  Joe  in  the  centre ;  and  sure  enough  at  the  door 
stood  Old  Lucas  in  proprid  persona. 

"  Now,  then,  what's  the  matter  ?"  said  the  leader  of  the  guard ; 
upon  which  Grimaldi  summoned  up  courage,  and  echoing  the 
inquiry,  said,  "  What's  the  matter  ?"  too. 

"  You  must  come  with  me  to  Hatton  Garden,"  said  the  con- 
stable, in  a  gruff  voice.  "  Come,  I  can't  afford  to  lose  any  more 

Here  arose  a  great  outcry,  mingled  with  various  exclamations 
of,  "  Where's  your  warrant  ?"  and  many  consignments  of  Mr. 
Lucas  to  the  warmest  of  all  known  regions. 

"  Where's  your  warrant  ?"  cried  Davis,  when  the  noise  had  in 
some  measure  subsided. 

The  officer  deigned  no  direct  reply  to  this  inquiry,  but  looking 
at  Grimaldi,  demanded  whether  he  was  ready;  in  answer  to 
which  question  the  whole  party  shouted  "  No  !"  with  tremendous 

"  Look  here,  Lucas,"  said  Dubois,  stepping  forward ;  "  you  are 
an  old  scoundrel ! — no  one  knows  that  oetter,  or  perhaps  could 
prove  it  easier,  than  I.  Now,  so  far  as  concerns  Mr.  Grimaldi, 
all  we  have  got  to  say  is,  either  show  us  a  warrant  which  autho- 
rizes you  to  take  him  into  custody,  or  take  yourself  into  custody 
and  take  yourself  off  under  penalty  of  a  ducking. 

This  speech  was  received  with  a  shout  of  applause,  not  only 
by  the  speaker's  companions,  but  by  several  idlers  who  had 
gathered  round. 

"  I'm  not  a-talking  to  you,  Mr.  Dubois,"  said  Lucas,  as  soon 
as  he  could  make  himself  heard; — "Mr.  Grimaldi's  my  man. 
Now,  sir,  will  you  come  along  with  me  ?" 

'  Not  without  a  warrant,"  said  the  rope-dancer. 

1  Not  without  a  warrant,"  added  Davis. 

'  Not  upon  any  consideration  whatever,"  said  Dubois. 

1  Don't  attempt  to  touch  him  without  a  warrant ;  or — " 

'  Or  what  ?"  inquired  Lucas ;  "  or  what,  Mr.  Dubois  ?  eh,  sir !" 

The  answer  was  lost  in  a  general  chorus  of  "  The  Eiver !" 

This  intimation,  pronounced  in  a  very  determined  manner, 
had  a  visible  effect  upon  the  officer,  who  at  once  assuming  a 
more  subdued  tone,  said, 

"  Fact  is,  that  I've  not  got  a  warrant ;  (a  shout  of  derision ;) 
fact  is,  it's  not  often  that  I'm  asked  for  warrants,  because  people 
generally  knows  that  I'm  in  authority,  and  thinks  that's  suffi 
cient.  (Another.)  However,  if  Mr.  Grimaldi  and  his  frienda 
press  the  objection,  I  shall  not  urge  his  going  with  me  now,  pro- 
vided he  promises  and  they  promises  on  his  behalf  to  attend  at 


Hatton  Garden  Office,  afore  Mr.  Blamire,  at  eleven  o'clock  to- 
Taorrow  morning." 

This  compromise  was  at  once  acceded  to,  and  Old  Lucas  turned 
to  go  away ;  but  he  did  not  entirely  escape  even  upon  this  occa- 
sion, for  while  the  above  conversation  was  going:  forward  at  the 
door,  the  muster  of  people  collected  around  had  increased  to  a 
pretty  large  concourse.  The  greater  part  of  them  knew  by  sight 
Doth  Grimaldi  and  the  constable ;  and  as  the  latter  was  about  to 
depart,  the  lookers-on  pressed  round  him,  and  a  voice  from  the 
crowd  cried  out,  "What's  the  matter,  Joe?" 

"  The  matter  is  this,  gentlemen,"  said  Dubois,  returning  to 
the  top  of  the  steps,  and  speaking  with  great  vehemence  and 
gesticulation : — "  This  rascal,  gentlemen,"  pointing  to  the 
constable,  "  wants  to  drag  Joe  Grimaldi  to  prison,  gentlemen." 

"  What  for  ? — what  for  ?"  cried  the  crowd. 

"Tor  doing  nothing  at  all,  gentlemen,"  replied  the  orator, 
who  had  reserved  the  loudest  key  of  his  voice  for  the  concluding 

This  announcement  was  at  once  received  with  a  general  yell, 
which  caused  the  constable  to  quicken  his  pace  very  consider- 
ably. The  mob  quickened  theirs  also,  and  in  a  few  seconds  the 
whole  area  of  Sadler's  Wells  yard  rang  with  whoops  and  yells 
almost  as  loud  as  those  which  had  assailed  the  ox  in  the  morn- 
ing ;  and  Mr.  Lucas  made  the  best  of  his  way  to  his  dwelling, 
amidst  a  shower  of  _  mud,  rotten  apples,  and  other  such  missiles. 
The  performances  in  the  theatre  went  off  as  usual.  After  all 
was  over,  Grimaldi  returEed  home  to  supper,  having  been  pre- 
viously assured  by  his  friends  that  they  would  one  and  all 
accompany  him  to  the  Police-office  in  the_  morning,  and  having 
previously  arranged  so  as  to  secure  as  a  witness  the  young  gen- 
tleman who  had  given  the  first  information  regarding  the  views 
and  intentions  of  the  worthy  thief- taker. 

At  the  appointed  hour,  Grimaldi  and  his  friends  repaired  to 
the  Police-office,  and  were  duly  presented  to  Mr.  Blamire,  the 
sitting  magistrate,  who,  having  received  them  with  much  polite- 
ness, requested  Old  Lucas,  who  was  then  and  there  in  attendance, 
to  state  Ms  case,  which  he  forthwith  proceeded  to  do. 

He  deposed,  with  great  steadiness  of  nerve,  that  Joseph 
Grimaldi  had  been  guilty  of  hunting,  and  inciting  and  inducing 
other  persons  to  hunt,  an  over-driven  ox,  in  the  fields  of  Pen- 
tonville,  much  to  the  hazard  and  danger  of  his  Majesty's  sub- 
jects, much  to  the  worry  and  irritation  of  the  animal,  and  greatly 
to  the  hazard  of  his  being  lashed  into  a  state  of  furious  insanity. 
Mr.  Lucas  deposed  to  having  seen  with  his  own  eyes  the  offence 
committed,  and  in  corroboration  of  his  eyesight  produced  Ms 
companions  of  the  morning,  who  confirmed  his  evidence  in  every 
particular.  This,  Mr.  Lucas  said,  was  his  case. 

The  accused  being  called  upon  for  his  defence,  stated  the  cir- 
cumstances as  they  had  actually  occurred,  and  produced  his 


young:  acquaintance,  who,  as  it  appeared,  was  the  son  of  a  most 
respectable  gentleman  in  the  neighbourhood.  The  young  gen- 
tleman confirmed  the  account  of  the  affair  which  had  been  given 
last ;  deposed  to  the  accused  not  having  been  in  the  field  more 
than  two  or  three  minutes  altogether ;  to  his  never  having  been 
near  the  ox-hunters ;  and  to  his  haying  gone  to  the  theatre  by  a 
route  much  longer  than  his  ordinary  one,  for  the  express 
purpose  of  avoiding  the  ox  and  his  hunters,  Mr.  Lucas  and  his 

The  magistrate  heard  all  this  conflicting  evidence  upon  an 
apparently  very  unimportant  question,  with  a  great  deal  more 
patience  and  coolness  than  some  of  his  successors  have  been 
in  the  habit  of  displaying ;  and  after  hearing  it,  and  various 
audible  and  unreserved  expressions  of  opinions  from.  Mr.  Dubois, 
and  others,  touching  the  respectability  and  probity  of  Lucas, 
turned  to  the  accused,  and  said— 

"  Mr.  Grimaldi,  I  entirely  believe  your  version  of  the  affair  to 
be  the  correct  and  true  one  ;  but  I  am  bound  to  act  upon  the 
deposition  of  this  constable  and  his  witnesses,  and  accordingly 
I  must,  however  unwillingly,  convict  you  in  some  penalty.  ^  I 
shall  take  care,  though,  that  your  punishment  is  one  which 
shall  neither  be  heavy  to  you  nor  serviceable  to  the  com- 
plainant. I  hereby  order  you  to  pay  a  fine  of  five  shillings,  and 
to  be  discharged.  As  to  you,  Lucas,  I  would  recommend  you 
to  be  careful  how  you  conduct  yourself  in  future,  and  more 
especially  to  be  careful  as  to  the  facts  which  you  state  upon 

After  this  decision,  which  his  friends  and  himself  looked  upon 
as^  complete  triumph,  they  bowed  to  the  magistrate  and 
quitted  the  Police-office,  Grimaldi  previously  paying  the  five 
shillings  which  he  had  been  fined,  and  an  additional  shilling  for 
his  discharge.  It  was  then  proposed  and  unanimously  agreed 
that  the  party  should  adjourn  to. a  tavern,*  called  the  King  of 
Prussia  (now  bearing  the  sign  of  the  Clown),  opposite  Sadler's 
Wells  theatre,  for  the  purpose  of  having  some  lunch ;  and 
thither  they  proceeded,  and  made  themselves  very  merry  with 
the  mortified  looks  of  Old  Lucas,  mingling  with  their  mirth  some 
dry  and  abstruse  speculations  upon  the  nature  of  the  laws  which 
compelled  a  magistrate  .to  accept  the  oath  of  a  reputed  perjurer, 
and  to  convict  upon  it  a  person  whom  he  conscientiously  be- 
lieved to  be  innocent  of  the  offence  laid  to  his  charge. 

While  they  were  thus  engaged,  some  person  came  running 
into  the  room,  and,  looking  hastily  round,  cried,  "Joe!  Joe! 
here's  Old  Lucas  again."  The  friends  began  to  lau^h,  and 
Grimaldi  joined  them,  thinking  that  this  was  but  a  jest ;  but  he 
was  greatly  mistaken,  for  in  less  than  a  minute  Lucas  entered 
the  room. 

"  In  St.  John  Street  Road. 


"  Why,  Mister  Constable !"  exclaimed  Dubois,  rising  angrily, 
"how  dare  you  come  here  ?" 

"  Because  I  have  business,"  surlily  replied  Lucas.  "  HT. 
Grimaldi  has  been  very  properly  convicted  of  an  offence  at  the 
Police-office,  and  sentenced  to  pay  a  fine  of  five  shillings,  be- 
sides one  shilling  more  for  his  discharge :  neither  of  these  sums 
has  he  paid,  so  he  is  still  my  prisoner." 

"  Not  paid  ?"  exclaimed  the  accused.  "  Why,  I  paid  the  six 
shillings  before  I  left  the  office." 

This  statement  was  corroborated  by  the  friends,_  and  the  mute 
but  eloquent  testimony  of  his  purse,  which  contained  precisely 
that  sum  less  than  it  had  done  an  hour  previously. 

"It's  no  use,"  said  Lucas,  grinning:  "pay  the  money,  or 
come  on  with  me." 

"  I  have  already  paid  all  that  was  required,  and  I  will 
neither  give  you  another  farthing,  nor*  allow  myself  to  be  made 
prisoner,"  was  the  reply. 

"We'll  see  that,"  responded  the  constable,  advancing. 

"  Take  care,"  said  Grimaldi,  warningly ;  "  venture  to  touch 
me,  and  to  the  ground  you  go !" 

Not  a  bit  daunted,  Old  Lucas  darted  upon  him,  dragged  him 
from  his  seat,  and  attempted  to  force  him  towards  the  door  ;  in 
doing  which  he  managed  to  tear  his  waistcoat  and  shirt-collar 
literally  to  ribands.  Until  then  he  had  remained  quite  cool, 
merely  acting  upon  the  defensive  ;  but  now  he  gave  way  to  his 
rage,  and  fulfilled  his  threat  to  the  letter  by  giving  him  a  blow 
which  felled  him  to  the  ground,  and  caused  his  nose  to  bleed  in 
a  manner  neither  sentimental  nor  picturesque. 

He,  however,  immediately  rose  again,  ana  producing  his  staff, 
was  about,  thus  strengthened,  to  renew  the  combat,  when  a 
gentleman  who  chanced  to  be  sitting  in  the  room,  a  stranger  to 
the  party,  rose,  and  drawing  from  his  pocket  a  silver  staff,  shook 
it  at  Lucas,  and  said,  "  I  will  have  no  more  of  this  violence ! 
Let  all  parties  adjourn  to  the  Police-office ;  and  if  Mr.  Grimaldi's 
tale  be  true,  and  your  purpose  be  merely  that  of  endeavouring 
to  extort  money,  as  I  have  no  doubt  it  is,  I  will  take  care  that 
things  be  laid  properly  before  the  magistrate." 

Lucas,  who  appeared  to  succumb  before  the  vision  of  the  silver 
staff,  surlily  assented,  and  they  all  presently  presented  them- 
selves for  the_second  time^that  day  before  Mr.  Blamire,  who  was 
greatly  astonished  at  their  reappearance,  and  greatly  surprised 
«t  the  altered  appearance  of  Old  Lucas's  face.  The  magistrate, 
moreover,  seemed  to  know  the  silver- staffed  gentleman  very 
well,  and  greeted  him  cordially. 

"  Well,"  said  Mr.  Blamire,  after  the  bustle  of  entrance  had 
ceased,  "  what's  the  matter,  now  ?  Speak,  you,  Lucas  !" 

"  Your  worship,"  said  the  person  called  upon,  "  Mr.  Grimaldi 
was  fined  five  shillings  just  now,  and  had  to  pay  one  for  his 
discharge,  all  of  which  he  left  the  office  without  doing." 


"Indeed! — is  that  truer"  inquired  the  magistrate  of  the 
clerk,  in  an  under  tone. 

"  No,  sir,"  replied  the  latter,  with  a  slight  but  meaning  smile. 

"  Go  on,  sir,"  said  Mr.  Blamire,  addressing  Lucas. 

Lucas  was  a  little  abashed  at  the  "  aside  confab  between  the 
magistrate  and  his  clerk ;  but,  affecting  not  to  hear  it,  he  con- 
tinued, "  Of  course,  therefore,  he  still  remained  my  prisoner ; 
and  I  followed  him,  and  insisted  upon  his  paying  the  money. 
This  he  refused :  I  therefore  collared  him,  for  the  purpose  of 
making  him  return  here,  and  in  so  doing  I  tore  his  shirt  and 
waistcoat.  The  moment  he  perceived  I  had  done  so,  he " 

Lucas  paused  for  an  instant,  and  Mr.  Blamire  lilled  up  the 
sentence  by  saying — 

"  He  gave  you  a  blow  on  the  nose  ?" 

"  Exactly  so,  sir,"  said  Lucas,  eagerly. 

"  And  very  well  you  merited  it,"  added  the  magistrate,  in  a 
tone  which  caused  a  general  roar  of  laughter.  "  Well,  Mr. 
Grimaldi,  let  us  hear  what  you ^have  to  say." 

He  briefly  recounted  the  circumstances;  and  when  he  had 
finished,  the  unknown  with  the  silver  staff  advanced  and  corro- 
borated the  statement,  making  several  severe  remarks  upon  the 
private  intentions  and  violent  manner  of  Lucas. 

"  Who,"  says  Grimaldi,  with  profound  respect  and  an  air  of 
great  mystery,  —  "Who  this  gentleman  was,  I  never  could 
ascertain  ;  but  that  he  was  a  person  possessing  a  somewhat  high 
degree  of  authority  was  evident  to  me  from  the  great  respect 
paid  to  him  at  the  Police-office.  Some  one  afterwards  told  me 
he  was  a  city  marshal,  possessing  power  to  exercise  his  authority 
without  the  city  ;  but  I  know  not  whether  he  was  so  or  not." 

After  this  disguised  potentate  had  given  his  testimony,  which 
rendered  the  matter  conclusive,  Mr.  Blamire  said,  "  Place 
Lucas  at  the  bar ;"  which  being  done,  the  magistrate  proceeded 
to  mulct  him  in  a  penalty  of  five  pounds,  the  money  to  go  to 
the  poor  of  the  parish,  and  likewise  ordered  him  to  make 
Grimaldi  every  necessary  reparation  and  amendment  for  the 
results  of  his  violence. 

On  this  sentence  being  pronounced,  Old  Lucas  foamed  at  the 
mouth  in  a  manner  not  unlike  the  over-driven  ox,  the  original 
cause  of  his  disaster,  and  protested,  with  many  disrespectful  oaths 
and  other  ebullitions  of  anger,  that  he  would  not  pay  one  far- 
thing ;  upon  which  the  magistrate,  nothing  daunted,  com- 
manded him  to  be  locked  up  forthwith,  which  was  done  to  the 
great  delight  and  admiration,  not  only  of  the  friends  and  other 
spectators,  but  of  the  officers  also,  who,  besides  being  in  duty 
bound  to  express  their  admiration  of  all  the  magistrate  did, 
participated  in  the  general  dislike  of  Old  Lucas,  as  the  persons 
best  acquainted  with  his  perjury  and  villany. 

The  friends  once  again  bade  the  magistrate  good  morning,  and 
soon  afterwards  dispersed  to  their  several  homes.  They  heard 


next  day  that  Old  Lucas,  after  having  been  under  lock  and  key 
for  six  hours,  the  whole  of  which  time  he  devoted  to  howls  and 
imprecations,  paid  the  fine.  A  few  hours  after  he  was  set  at 
liherty,  he  wrote  a  very  penitent  letter  to  Grimaldi,  expressing 
his  great  regret  for  what  had  occurred,  and  his  readiness  to  pay 
for  the  spoiled  shirt  and  waistcoat,  upon  being  made  acquainted 
with  the  amount  of  damage  done.  _  Grimaldi  thought  it  better 
to  let  the  matter  remain  where  it  did,  thinking  that,  setting  the 
broken  nose  against  the  torn  shirt  and  waistcoat,  Lucas  was 
already  sufficiently  punished. 

And  after  this,  "Old  Lucas " never  did  anything  more  terrible, 
connected  with  the  Sadler's  Wells  company,  at  least,  and,  there 
is  reason  to  believe,  shortly  afterwards  lost  his  situation. 
Whether  he  did  so  or  not  is  no  great  matter,  further  than  that 
he  appears  to  have  been  a  most  unfit  personage  to  have  been 
intrusted  with  any  species  of  authority. 

Prom  this  time  forward,  for  several  months,  all  went  merry  as 
a  marriage  bell.  On  the  1 1th  of  May  following  the  little  adven- 
ture just  recorded,  the  marriage  bell  went  too,  for  he  was 
married  to  Miss  Maria  Hughes,  at  St.  George's,  Hanover-square, 
with  the  full  consent  and  approbation  of  the  young  lady's 
parents,  and  to  the  unbounded  joy  of  his  own  mother,  by  whom 
she  had  been,  from  her  earliest  youth,  beloved -as  her  daughter. 

Five  days  after  the  wedding,  the  young  couple  paid  their  first 
visit  to  Mr.  and  Mrs.  Hughes.  After  sitting  a  short  time,  Grimaldi 
left  his  wife  there  and  went  to  the  theatre,  where  a  rehearsal  in 
which  he  was  wanted  had  been  called  for  that/morning.  Upon 
entering  the  yard  of  Sadler's  Wells,  in  which  the  different  mem- 
bers of  the  company  were  strolling  about_  until  the  rehearsal 
commenced,  he  was  accosted  by  Richer,  with,  "Joe,  may  I  in- 
quire  the  name  of  the  lady  with  whom  I  saw  you  walking  just 


"  Nay,  you  need  not  ask  him,"  cried  Dubois ;  "  I  can  tell  you. 
It  was  Miss  Maria  Hughes." 

"  I  beg  your  pardon,"  interrupted  Grimaldi ;  "  that  is  not  the 
lady's  name." 

"No!"  exclaimed  Dubois.  "Why,  I  could  have  sworn  it 
was  Miss  Hughes." 

"  You  would  have  sworn  wrong,  then,"  replied  he.  "  The 
lady's  name  was  Hughes  once,  I  grant ;  but  on  Friday  last  I 
changed  it  to  Grimaldi." 

His  friends  were  greatly  surprised  at  this  intelligence ;  but 
they  lost  no  time  in  disseminating  it  throughout  the  theatre. 
Congratulations  poured  in  upon  him ;  and  so  great  was  the 
excitement  occasioned  by  the  fact  of  "  Joe  Grimaloi's  marriage" 
becoming  known,  that  the  manager,  after  vainly  endeavouring 
to  proceed  with  the  rehearsal,  gave  up  the  task,  and  dismissed 
the  company  *or  that  morning.  In  the  evening  they  had  a 
supper  at  the  theatre  to  commemorate  the  event ;  and  on  the 


following  Sunday,  Joe  gave  a  dinner  to  the  cUrpenters  of  the 
theatre,  for  the  same  purpose.  In  the  long-run  all  the  members 
of  the  establishment,  from  the  highest  to  the  lowest,  participated 
in  the  long-expected  happiness  of  their  single-hearted  and  good- 
natured  comrade. 

In  the  summer  of  this  year,  he  lost  a  guinea  wager  in  a  some- 
what ludicrous  manner — in  a  manner  sufficiently  ludicrous  to 
justify  in  this  place^the  narration  of  the  joke  which  gave  rise  to 
it.  He  was  acquainted  at  that  time  with  a  very  clever  and 
popular  writer,  who  happened  to  have  occasion  to  pass  through 
G-ravesend  on  the  same  day  as  Joe  had  to  go  there  ;  and,  as  they 
met  shortly  before,  they  agreed  to  travel  in  a  post-chaise  and 
share  the  expense  between  them.  They  arranged  to  start  early 
in  the  morning,  as  Grimaldi  had  to  play  at  Sadler's  Wells  at 
night,  and  did  so. 

The  journey  was  very  pleasant,  and  the  hours  passed  quickly 
away.  His  companion,  who  was  a  witty  and  humorous  fellow, 
was  in  great  force  upon  the  occasion,  and,  exerting  all  his 
powers,  kept  him  laughing  without  intermission.  About  three 
miles  on  the  London  side  of  Dartford,  _the  friend,  whose  buoyant 
and  restless  spirits  prevented  his  sitting  in  any  one  position  for 
a  minute,  began  incessantly  poking  his  head  out  of  one  or  other 
of  the  chaise  windows,  and  making  various  remarks  on  the 
landscape,  and  the  persons  or  vehicles  passing  to  and  fro. 
While  thus  engaged,  he  happened  to  catch  sight  of  a  man  on 
horseback,  about  a  quarter  of  a  mile  behind,  who  was  travelling 
in  the  same  direction  with  themselves,  and  was  coming  up  after 
the  chaise  at  a  rapid  pace. 

"  Look, ^  Joe  !"  he  said;  "see  that  fellow  behind!  Well 
mounted,  is  he  not  ?" 

Grimaldi  looked  back,  and  saw  the  man  coming  along  at  a 
fast  trot.  He  was  a  stout,  hearty  fellow,  dressed  like  a  small 
farmer,  as  he  very  probably  was,  and  was  riding  a  strong  horse, 
of  superior  make,  good  pace,  and  altogether  an  excellent  roadster. 
"  Yes,  I  see  him,"  was  his  reply.  "  He's  well  enough,  but  I 
see  nothing  particular  about  him  or  the  horse  either." 

"  Nor  is  there  anything  particular  about  either  of  them  that 
I  am  aware  of,"  answered  his  companion ;  "  but  wouldn't  you 
think,  judging  from  the  appearance  of  his  nag,  and  the  rate  at 
which  he  is  riding,  that  he  would  pass  our  chaise  in  a  very  short 
time  ?" 

"  Most  unquestionably  ;  he  will  pass  us  in  a  few  seconds." 

1 1*11  tell  you  what,  Joe,  I'll  bet  you  a  guinea  he  does  not,* 
said  the  friend. 

'  Nonsense !" 

'  Well,  will  you  take  it  ?" 

'No,  no  ;  it  would  be  robbing  you." 

*  Oh,  leave  me  to  judge  about  that,"  said  the  friend ;  "  I  shall 
not  consider  it  a  robbery :  and,  so  far  from  that,  I'm  willing  to 


make  the  bet  more  in  your  favour. — Come,  I'll  bet  you  a  guinea, 
Joe,  that  that  man  don't  pass  our  chaise  between  this  and  Dart- 

"Done!"  said  Grimaldi.  well  knowing  that,  unless  some 
sudden  and  most  unaccountable  change  took  place  in  the  pace  at 
which  the  man  was  riding,  he  must  pass  in  a  minute  or  two — 
"  done !" 

"Very  good,"  said  the  other. — "Stop — I  forgot:  remember 
that  if  you  laugh  or  smile,  so  that  he  can  see  you,  between  this 
and  Dartfbrd,  you  will  have  lost.  Is  that  agreed  ?" 

"  Oh,  certainly,"  replied  Grimaldi,  very  much  interested  to 
know  by  what  mode  his  friend  proposed  to  win  the  wager, — 
"  certainly." 

He  did  not  remain  very  long  in  expectation:  vhe  horseman  drew 
nearer  and  nearer,  and  the  noise  of  his  horse's  feet  was  heard 
close  behind  the  chaise,  when  the  friend,  pulling  a  pistol  from 
his  pocket,  suddenly  thrust  his  head  and  shoulders  out  of  the 
window  and  presented  the  pistol  full  at  the  face  of  the  uncon- 
scious countryman,  assuming  at  the  same  time  a  ferocious  coun- 
tenance and  menacing  air  which  were  perfectly  alarming. 
Grimaldi  was  looking  through  the  little  window  at  thejback  of 
the  chaise,  and  was  like  to  die  with  laughter  when  he  witnessed 
the  effect  produced  by  this  singular  apparition. 

The  countryman  was  coming  along  at  the  same  hard  trot,  with 
a  very  serious  and  business-like  countenance,  when,  all  of  a 
sudden,  half  a  man  and  the  whole  of  a  pistol  were  presented 
from  the  chaise  window ;  which  he  no  sooner  beheld,  than  all  at 
once  he  pulled  up  with  a  jerk  which  almost  brought  him  into  a 
ditch,  and  threw  the  horse  upon  his  haunches.  His  red  face 
grew  very  pale,  but  he  had  the  presence  of  mind  to  pat  his  beast 
on  the  neck  and  soothe  him  in  various  ways,  keeping  his  eyes 
fixed  on  the  chaise  all  the  time  and  looking  greatly  astonished. 
After  a  minute  or  so,  he  recovered  himself,  and,  giving  his  horse 
the  spur,  and  a  smart  cut  in  the  flank  with  his  riding-whip, 
dashed  across  the  road,  with  the  view  of  passing  the  chaise  on 
the  opposite  side.  The  probability  of  this  attempt  had  been  fore- 
seen, however,  by  the  other  party,  for  with  great  agility  he 
transferred  himself  to  the  other  window,  and,  thrusting  out  the 
pistol  with  the  same  fierce  and  sanguinary  countenance  as  before, 
again  encountered  the  farmer's  gaze ;  upon  which  he  Bulled  up, 
with  the  same  puzzled  and  frightened  expression  of  counte- 
nance, and  stared  till  his  eyes  seemed  double  their  natural 

The  scene  became  intensely  droll.  The  countryman's  horse 
stood  stock  still;  but  as  the  chaise  rolled  on,  he  gradually 
suffered  him  to  fall  into  a  gentle  trot,  and,  with  an  appearance  of 
deep  perplexity,  was  evidently  taking  council  with  himself  how 
to  act.  Grimaldi  had  laughed  in  a  corner  till  he  was  quite  ex- 
hausted, and  seeing  his  guinea  was  fairly  lost,  determined  to  aid 



the  joke.  With,  this  view,  he  looked  out  of  the  vacant  window, 
and,  assuming  an  authoritative  look,  nodded  confidentially  to 
the  horseman,  and  waved  his  hand  as  if  warning  him  not  to 
come  too  near,  This  caution  the  countryman  received  with 
much  apparent  earnestness,  frequently  nodding  and  waving  his 
hand  after  the  same  manner,  accompanying  the  pantomime  with 
divers  significant  winks,  to  intimate  that  he  understood  the 
gentleman  was  insane,  and  that  he  had  accidentally  obtained  pos- 
session of  the  dangerous  weapon.  Grimaldi  humoured  the  notion 
of  his  being  the  keeper^  occasionally  withdrawing  his  head  from 
the  window  to  indulge  in  peals  of  laughter.  The  friend,  bating 
not  an  inch  of  his  fierceness,  kept  the  pistol  pointed  at  the 
countryman ;  and  the  countryman  followed  on  behind  at  an  easy 
pace  on  the  opposite  side  of  the  road,  continuing  to  exchange 
most  expressive  pantomime  with  one  of  its  best  professors^  and 
to  reciprocate,  as  nearly  as  he  could,  all  the  nods  and  winks 
and  shrugs  with  which  Grimaldi  affected  to  deplore  the  situation 
of  his  unhappy  friend.  And  so  they  went  into  Dartford.  When 
they  reached  the  town,  the  friend  resumed  his  seat,  and  Grimaldi 
paid  the  guinea.  The  instant  the  pistol  barrel  was  withdrawn, 
the  countryman  set  spurs  to  his  horse,  and  scoured  through 
the  town  to  the  great  astonishment  of  its  inhabitants,  at  full 

.  The  success  of  this  guinea  wager  put  the  friend  upon  telling 
a  story  of  a  wager  of  Sheridan's  which  was  much  talked  of  at 
the  time,  and  ran  thus  : — 

George  the  Fourth,  when  Prince  of  Wales,  used  occasionally 
to  spend  certain  hours  of  the  day  in  gazing  from  the  windows  of 
a  club-house  in  St.  James's-street : — of  course  he  was  always 
surrounded  by  some  of  his  chosen  companions,  and  among  these 
Sheridan,  who  was  then  the  Drur y  Lane  lessee,  was  ever  first  and 
foremost.  The  Prince  and  Sheridan  in  these  idle  moments  had 
frequently  remarked  among  the  passers  backwards  and  forwards, 
a  young  woman  who  regularly  every  day  carried  through  the 
street  a  heavy  load  of  crockery-ware,  and  who,  the  Prince 
frequently  Remarked,  must  be  possessed  of  very  great  strength 
and  dexterity  to  be  able  to  bear  so  heavy  a  burden  with  so  much 
apparent  ease,  and  to  carry  it  in  the  midst  of  such  a  crowd  of 
passengers  without  ever  stumbling. 

One  morning,  as  usual,  she  made  her  appearance  in  the  street 
from  Piccadilly,  and  Sheridan  called  the  Prince's  attention  to 
the  circumstance. 

"  Here  she  is,"  said  Sheridan. 

"  Who  r"  inquired  the  Prince. 

"The  crockery-girl,"  replied  Sheridan;  "and  more  heavily 
laden  than  ever." 

"  Not  more  so  than  usual,  I  think,"  said  the  Prince. 

*'  Pardon  me,  your  Highness,  I  think  I'm  right.  Oh,  dear  me, 
yes !  it's  decidedly  a  larger  basket,  a  much  larger  basket," 


replied  Slieridan.     "  Grood  God,  she  staggers  under  it !    All !  sltf 
ias  recovered  herself. — Poor  girl,  poor  girl !" 

The  Prince  had  watched  the  girl  very  closely,  but  the  symp- 
toms of  exhaustion  which  Sheridan  had  so  feelingly  deplored 
were  nevertheless  quite  invisible  to  him. 

"  She  will  certainly  fall,"  continued  Sheridan,  in  a  low 
abstracted  tone;  "that  girl  will  fall  down  before  she  reaches 
this  house." 

"Pooh,  pooh!:>  said  the  Prince.  "  She  fall! — nonsense!  she 
is  too  well  used  to  it." 

"  She  will,"  said  Sheridan. 

"  I'll  bet  you  a  cool  hundred  she  does  not,"  replied  the  Prince. 

"  Done !"  cried  Sheridan. 

"  Done !"  repeated  his  Royal  Highness. 

The  point  of  the  story  is,  that  the  girl  did  fall  down  just 
"before  she  reached  the  club-house.  It  was  very  likely  an  acci- 
dent, inasmuch  as  people  seldom  fall  down  on  purpose,  especially 
when  they  carry  crockery ;  but  still  there  were  not  wanting  some 
malicious  persons  who  jpretended  to  trace  the  tumble  to  another 
source.  At  all  events,  it  was  a  curious  coincidence,  and  a  strong 
proof  of  the  accuracy  of  Sheridan's  judgment  in  such  matters, 
any  way. 

The  friend  told  this  story  while  they^were  changing  horses, 
laughing  very  much  when  he  had  finished,  as  most  people's 
friends  do :  and,  as  if  it  had  only  whetted  his  appetite  for  fun, 
at  once  looked  out  for  another  object  on  whom  to  exercise  his 
turn  for  practical  joking.  The  chaise,  after  moving  very  slowly 
for  some  yards,  came  to  a  dead  stop  behind  some  heavy  waggons 
which  obstructed  the  road.  This  stoppage  chanced  to  occur 
directly  opposite  the  principal  inn,  from  one  of  the  coffee-room 
windows  of  which,  on  the  first  floor,  a  gentleman  was  gazing 
into  the  street.  He  was  a  particularly  tall,  big  man,  wearing  a 
military  frock  and  immense  mustachios,  and  eyeing  the  people 
below  with  an  air  of  much  dignity  and  grandeur.  The  jester's 
eyes  no  sooner  fell  upon  this  personage  than  he  practised  a 
variety  of  devices  to  attract  his  attention,  such  as  coughing 
violently,  sneezing,  raising  the  window  of  the  chaise  and  letting 
it  fall  again  with  a  great  noise,  and  tapping  loudly  at  the  door. 
At  length  he  clapped  his  hands  and  accompanied  the  action  with  a 
shrill  scream ;  upon  which  the  big  man  looked  down  from  his  ele- 
vation with  a  glare  of  profound  scorn,  mingled  with  some  surprise. 
Their  eyes  no  sooner  met,  than  the  man  in  the  chaise  assumed  a 
most  savage  and  unearthly  expression  of  countenance,  which 
gave  him  all  the  appearance  of  an  infuriated  maniac.  After 
grimacing  _  in  a  manner  sufficiently  uncouth  to  attract  the  sole 
and  undivided  attention  of  the  big  man,  he  suddenly  produced 
the  pistol  from  his  pocket,  and,  pretending  to  take  a  most  accu- 
rate aim  at  the  warrior's  person,  cocked  it  and  placed  his  hand 
upon  the  trigger. 


The  big  man's  face  grew  instantly  blanched ;  he  put  his  hands 
to  his  head,  made  a  step,  or  rather  stagger  back,  and  instantly 
disappeared,  having  either  fallent  or  thrown  himself  upon  the 
floor.  The  friend  put  his  pistol  in  his  pocket  without  the  most 
remote  approach  to  a  smile  or  the  slightest  change  of  coun- 
tenance, and  G-rimaldi  sank  down  to  the  bottom  of  the  chaise 
nearly  suffocated  with  laughter. 

At  Gravesend  they  parted,  the  friend  going  on  in  the  same 
chaise  to  Dover,  and  Grimaldi,  after  transacting  the  business 
which  brought  him  from  town,  returning  to  play  at  the  theatre 
at  night ;  all  recollection  even  of  ^  the  "  Dartford  Blues"  fading 
as  he  passed  through  the  town  ill  his  way  home,  before  the 
exploits  of  his  merry  friend,  which  afforded  Mm  matter  for 
diversion  until  he  reached  London. 



1798  to  1801. 

Partiality  of  George  the  Third  for  Theatrical  Entertainments— Sheridan's  kind- 
ness to  Grimaldi — His  domestic  affliction  and  severe  distress — The  produc- 
tion of  Harlequin  Amulet  a  new  era  in  Pantomime — Pigeon-fancying  and 
Wagering — His  first  Provincial  Excursion  with  Mrs.  Baker,  the  eccentric 
Manageress — John  Kemble  and  Jew  Davis,  with  a  new  reading — Increased 
success  at  Maidstone  and  Canterbury — Polite  interview  with  John  Kemble. 

THE  summer  passed  pleasantly  away,  the  whole  of  Grrimaldi's 
spare  time  being  devoted  to  the  society  of  his  wife  and  her 
parents,  until  the  departure  of  the  latter  from  London  for 
Weymouth,  of  which  theatre  Mr.  Hughes  was  the  proprietor. 
It  is  worthy  of  remark,  as  a  proof  of  the  pleasure  which  George 
the  Third  derived  from  theatrical  entertainments,  that  when 
the  court  were  at  "Weymouth,  he  was  in  the  habit  of  visiting_the 
theatre  at  least  four  times  a  week ;  generally  on  such  occasions 
commanding  the  performance,  and  taking  with  him  a  great 
number  of  the  noblemen  and  ladies  in  his  suite. 

Drury  Lane  opened  for  the  season  on  the  15th  of  September, 
and  Sadler's  Wells  closed  ten  days  afterwards :  but  while  the 
latter  circumstance  released  Grimaldi  from  his  arduous  labours 
at  one  theatre,  the  former  one  did  not  tend  to  increase  them  at 
the  other,  for  pantomime  was  again  eschewed  at  Drury  Lane, 
and  "Blue  Beard,"  "Feudal  Times,"  and  " Lodoiska"  reigned 
paramount.  At  the  commencement  of  the  season  he  met  Mr. 
Sheridan,  when  the  following  colloquy  ensued : — 

"  WeU,  Joe,  stiU  living— eh  ?" 

"  Yes,  sir ;  and  what's  more,  married  as  well." 

"  Oho  !    Pretty  young  woman,  Joe  ?" 

"  Very  pretty,  sir." 

"  That's  right  ^  You  must  lead  a  domestic  life,  Joe :  nothing 
like  a  domestic  life  for  happiness,  Joe :  I  lead  a  domestic  life 
myself."    And  then  came  one  of  those  twinkling  glances  which 
no  one  who  ever  saw  them  can  forget  the  humour  of. 
'  I  mean  to  do  so,  sir." 

"Right.  But,  Joe,  what  will  your  poor  little  wife  do  while 
you  are  at  the  theatre  of  an  evening  ?  Very  bad  thing,  Joe,  to 
let  a  pretty  young  wife  be  alone  of  a  night.  I'll  manage  it  for 
you,  Joe :  I'll  put  her  name  down  upon  the  free  list;  herself  and 
friend.— But,  mind,  it's  a  female  friend,  that's  all,  Joe ;  any 
other  might  be  dangerous, — eh,  Joe?"  And  away  he  went  with- 


out  pausing-  for  a  moment  to  listen  to  Grimaldi's  expressions  of 
gratitude  for  his  thoughtful  kindness.  However,  he  did  not 
omit  performing  his  friendly  offer,  and  his  wife,  availing  herself 
of  it,  went  to  the  theatre  almost  every  night  he  played,  sat  in 
the  front  of  the  house  until  he  had  finished,  and  then  they  went 
home  together. 

In  this  pleasant  and  quiet  manner  the  autumn  and  winter 
passed  rapidly  away.  In  the  following  year,  1799,  it  became 
apparent  that  his  young  wife  would  shortly  make  him  a  father  ; 
and  while  this  prospect  increased  the  happiness  and  attention  of 
her  husband  and  parents,  it  added  little  to  their  slight  stock 
of  cares  and  troubles,  for  they  were  too  happy  and  contented  to 
entertain  any  other  but  cheerful  anticipations  of  the  result. 

There  is  little  to  induce  one  to  dwell  upon  a  sad  and  melan- 
choly chapter  in  the  homely  life  of  every-day.  After  many 
months  of  hope,  and  some  of  fear,  and  many  lingering  changes 
from  better  to  worse,  and  back  and  back  again,  his  dear  wife, 
whom  he  had  loved  from  a  boy  with  so  much  truth  and  feeling, 
and  whose  excellences  to  the  last  moment  of  his  life,  many 
years  afterwards,  were  the  old  man's  fondest  theme,  died. 

"  Poor  Joe  !  Oh,  Richard,  be  kind  to  poor  Joe  !"  were  the 
last  words  she  uttered.  They  were  addressed  to  her  brother. 
A  few  minutes  afterwards,  he  sat  beside  a  corpse. 

They  found  in  her  pocket-book  a  few  pencilled  lines,  beneath 
which  she  had  written  her  wish  that  when  she  died  they  might 
be  inscribed  above  her  grave  :  — 

Earth  walks  on  Earth  like  glittering  gold  | 
Earth  says  to  Earth,  We  are  but  mould  : 
Earth  builds  on  Earth  castles  and  towers  ; 
Earth  says  to  Earth,  All  shall  be  ours. 

They  were  placed  upon  the  tablet  erected  to  her  memory.  She 
died  on  the  18th  of  October,  1799,  and  was  buried  in  the  family 
vault  of  Mr.  Hughes,  at  St.  James's,  Clerkenwell.* 

In  the  first  passion  of  his  grief  the  widower  went  distracted. 
Nothing  but  the  constant  attention  and  vigilance  of  his  friends, 
who  never  left  him  alone,  would  have  prevented  his  laying 
violent  hands  upon  his  life.  There  were  none  to  console  him, 
except  with  sympathy,  for  his  friends  were  hers,  and  all  mourned 
no  common  loss. 

Mr.  Eichard  Hughes,  the  brother,  never  forgot  his  sister's 
dying  words,  but  proved  himself  under  all  circumstances  and  at 
all  times  Grimaldi's  firm  and  steady  friend.  The  poor  fellow 

*  Miss  Maria  Hughes,  eldest  daughter  of  Mr.  Eichard  Hughes,  proprietor  of 
one  fourth  of  Sadler's  Wells,  of  which  theatre  he  was  also  the  resident  manager, 
was  married  to  Joe  in  1800,  and  on  October  18,  in  the  same  year,  died  in  child- 

birth, in  the  twenty-fifth  year  of  her  age.    She  was  not  interred  in  the  family 
vault,  but  in  the  graveyard  of  St.  James's 

ames's  on  Clovkenwell  Green. 


haunted  the  scenes  of  his  old  hopes  and  happiness  for  two 
months,  and  was  then  summoned  to  the  theatre  to  set  the 
audience  in  a  roar ;  and  chalking  over  the  seams  which  mental 
agony  had  worn  in  his  face,  was  hailed  with  boisterous  applause 
in  the  merry  Christmas  pantomime  ! 

The  title  of  this  pantomime,  which  was  produced  at  Drury 
Lane,  was,  "  Harlequin  Amulet;  or,  the  Magic  of  JVIona ;"  it  was 
written  by  Mr.  Powell,  and  produced  under  the  superintendence 
of  Mr.  James  Byrne,  the  ballet-master.  It  was  highly  successful, 
running  without  intermission  from  the  night  of  its  production 
until  Easter,  1800.  This  harlequinade  was  distinguished  by 
several  unusual  features  besides  its  great  success;  foremost 
among  them  was  an  entire  change  both  in  the  conception  of 
the  character  of  Harlequin  and  in  the  costume.  Before  that 
time  it  had  been  customary  to  attire  the  Harlequin  in  a  loose 
jacket  and  trousers,  and  it  had  been  considered  indispensable 
that  he  should  be  perpetually  attitudinizing  in  five  positions,  and 
doing  nothing  else  but  passing  instantaneously  from  one  to  the 
other,  and  never  pausing  without  being  in  one  of  the  five.  All 
these  conventional  notions  were  abolished  by  Byrne,  who  this 
year  made  his  first  appearance  as  Harlequin}>  and  made  Har- 
lequin a  very  original  person  to  the  play-going  public.  His 
attitudes  and  jumps  were  all  new,  and  his  dress  was  infinitely 
improved:  the  latter  consisted  of  a  white  silk  shape,  fitting 
without  a  wrinkle,  and  into  which  the  variegated  silk  patches 
were  woven,  the  whole  being  profusely  covered  with  spangles, 
and  presenting  a  very  sparkling  appearance.  The  innovation 
was  not  >  resisted^  the  applause  was  enthiisiastic ;  "nor,"  says 
Orimaldi,  "  was  it  undeserved ;  for,  in  my  judgment,  Mr.  James 
Byrne*  was  at  that  time  the  best  Harlequin  on  the  boards,  and 
never  has  been  excelled,  even  if  equalled,  since  that  period." 

The  alteration  soon  became  general,  and  has  proved  a  lasting 
one,  Harlequin  having  been  ever  since  attired  as  upon  this 
memorable  occasion,  in  accordance  with  the  improved  taste  of 
his  then  representative. 

Grimaldi's  part  in  this  production  was  a  singularly  arduous 
and  wearying  one :  he  had  to  perform  Punch,  and  to  change 
afterwards  to  Clown.  He  was  so  exceedingly  successful  in  the 
first-mentioned  part,  that  Mr.  Sheridan  wished  him  to  preserve 
the  character  throughout, — a  suggestion  which  he  was  compelled 
resolutely  to  oppose.  His  reason  for  doing  so  will  not  be  con- 
sidered extraordinary,  when  we  inform  the  present  generation 
that  his  personal  decorations  consisted  of  a  large  and  heavy 

*  Mr.  James  Byrne,  father  of  Mr.  Oscar  Byrne,  was  one  of  the  ballet  at  Drury 
lane  in  Garrick's  time.;  and  was  also  employed  at  Sadler's  Wells  in  the  seasons 
of  1775  and  1776.  He  died  December  4,  1845,  in  the  eighty-ninth  year  of  his 
age.  Mrs.  Byrne,  whom  many  may  yet  remember  at  Covent  Garden  Theatre, 
died  a  few  months  before  her  husband,  on  August  27,  in  her  seventy-fourth 


Jiump  on  liis  chest,  and  a  ditto,  ditto,  on  his  back ;  a  high  sugar- 
foaf  cap,  a  long-nosed  mask,  and  heavy  wooden  shoes; — the 
freight  of  the  whole  dress,  and  of  the  humps,  nose,  and  shoes 
^specially,  being  exceedingly  great.  Having  to  exercise  all  his 
strength  in  this  costume,  and  to  perform  a  vast  quantity  of  what 
in  professional  language  is  termed  "  comic  business,"  he  was 
compelled  by  fatigue,  at  the  end  of  the  sixth  scene,  to  assume 
the  Clown's  dress,  and  so  relieve  himself  from  the  immense 
weight  which  he  had  previously  endured.  "The  part  of 
Columbine,"  he  tells  us,  "  was  supported  by  Miss  Menage  ;* 
and  admirably  she  sustained  it.  1  thought  at  the  time  that, 
taking  them  together,  I  never  saw  so  good  a  Harlequin  and 
Columbine ;  and  I  still  entertain  the  same  opinion." 

"Harlequin  Amulet"  being  played  every  night  until  Easter,  he 
had  plenty  to  do  :  but  although  his  body  was  fatigued,  his  mind 
was  relieved  by  constant  employment,  and  he  had  little  time, 
in  the  short  intervals  between  exertion  and  repose,  to  brood  over 
the  heavy  misfortune  which  had  befallen  him.  Immediately 
after  his  wife's  death,  he  had  removed  from  the  scene  of  his  loss 
to  a  house  in  Baynes*  How,  and  he  gradually  became  more  cheer- 
ful and  composed. 

In  this  new^  habitation  he  devoted  his  leisure  hours  to  the 
breeding  of  pigeons,  and  for  this  purpose  had  a  room,  which 
fanciers  termed  a  dormer,  constructed  at  the  top  of  his  house, 
where  he  used  to  sit  for  hours  together,  watching  the  birds  as 
they  disported  in  the  air  above  him.  At  one  time  he  had  up- 
wards of  sixty  pigeons,  all  of  the  very  first  order  and  beauty, 
and  many  of  them  highly  valuable  :  in  proof  of  which,  he  notes 
down  with  great  pride  a  bet,  concerning  one  pigeon  of  peculiar 
talents,  made  with  Mr.  Lambert,  himself  a  pigeon-fancier. 

This  Mr.  Lambert  being,  as  Grimaldi  says,  "like  myself,  a 
pigeon-fancier,  but,  unlike  myself,  a  confirmed  boaster,"  took  it 
into  his  head  to  declare  and  pronounce  his  birds  superior  in  all 
respects  _to  those  in  any  other  collection.  This  comprehensive 
declaration  immediately  brought  all  the  neighbouring  pigeon- 
breeders  up  in  arms  ;  and  Grimaldi,  taking  up  the  gauntlet  on 
behalf  of  the  inmates  of  the  "  dormer,"  accepted  a  bet  offered  by 
Lambert,  that  there  was  no  pigeon  in  his  flight  capable  of  ac- 
complishing twenty  miles  in  twenty  minutes.  The  sum  at  stake 
was  twenty  pounds.  The  nioney  was  posted,  the  bird  exhibited, 
the  day  on  which  the  match  should  come  off  named,  and  the 
road  over  which  the  bird  was  to  fly  agreed  upon — the  course 
being  from  the  twentieth  mile-stone  on  the  Great  ^ North  Eqad 
to  Grimaldi's  house.  At  six  o'clock  in  the  morning,  the  bird 
was  consigned  to  the  care  of  a  friend,  with  instructions  to  throw 
it  up  precisely  as  the  clock  struck  twelve,  at  the  appointed  mile- 

*  Misa  Bella  Menage,  in  September,  1804.  became  the  wife  of  Mr.  M.  W, 
Sharp,  the  artist. 


stone,  near  St.  Albans  ;  and  the  friend  and  the  pigeon,  accom- 
panied by  a  gentleman  on  behalf  of  the  opposite  party,  started 
off,  all  parties  concerned  first  setting  their  watches  by  Clerken- 
well  church.  It  was  a  very  dismal  day,  the  snow  being  very 
deep  on  the  ground,  and  a  heavy  sleet  falling,  very  much  in- 
creasing the  odds  against  the  bird,  the  weather,  of  course,  having 
great  effect,  and  the  snow  frequently  blinding  it.  There  was 
no  stipulation  made,  however,  for  fine  weather ;  so  at  twelve 
o'clock  the  two  parties,  accompanied  by  several  friends,  took  up 
their  station  in  the  dormer.  In  exactly  nineteen  minutes  after- 
wards, the  pigeon  alighted  on  the  roof  of  the  house.  An  offer  of 
twenty  pounds  was  immediately  made  for  the  bird,  but  it  was 

The  pigeons,  however,  did  not  always  keep  such  good  hours, 
or  rather  minutes ;  for  sometimes  they  remained  away  so  long 
on  their  aerial  excursions,  that  their  owner  gave  them  up  in 
despair.  On  one  occasion  they  were  absent  upwards  of  four 
hours.  As  their  owner  was  sitting  disconsolately,  concluding 
they  were  gone  for  ever,  his  attention  was  attracted  by  the 
apparently  unaccountable  behaviour  of  three  birds  who  had  been 
left  behind,  and  who,  with  their  heads  elevated  in  the  air,  were 
all  gazing  with  intense  earnestness  at  one  portion  of  the  horizon. 
After  straining  his  eyes  for  a  length  of  time  without  avail,  their 
master  began  to  fancy  that  he  discerned  a  small  black  speck  a 
great  height  above  him.  He  was  not  mistaken,  for  by  and  by 
the  black  speck  turned  out,  to  his  infinite  joy,  to  be  the  lost 
flight  of  pigeons  returning  home,  after  a  journey  probably  of 
several  hundred  miles. 

When  the  pantomime  had  ceased  to  run,  Grimaldi  had  but 
little  to  do  at  Drury  Lane,  his  duties  being  limited  to  a  combat 
or  some  such  business,  in  "Lodoiska,"  "Feudal  Times,"  and 
other  spectacles,  which  he  could  well  manage  to  reach  the 
theatre  in  time  for,  after  the  performances  at  Sadler's  Wells 
were  over.  Drury  Lane  closed  in  June,  and  re-opened  in  Sep- 
tember, ten  days  after  the  season  at  Sadler's  Wells  had  termi- 
nated ;  but  as  he  did  not  expect  to  be  called  into  active  service 
until  December,  he  played  out  of  town,  for  the  first  time  in  his 
life,  in  the  month  of  November,  1801. 

There  was  at  that  time  among  the  Sadler's  Wells  company  a 
clever  man  named  Lund,  who,  in  the  vacation  time,  usually 
Coined  Mrs.  Baker's  company  on  the  Eochester  circuit.  His 
benefit  was  fixed  to  take  place  at  Eochester,  on  the  15th,  and 
coming  to  town,  he  waited  on  Grimaldi  and  entreated  him  to 
play  for  him  on  the  occasion.  Whenever  it  was  in  his  power  to 
accede  to  such  a  request  it  was  his  invariable  custom  not  to 
refuse  ;  he  therefore  willingly  returned  an  answer  in  the  affirm- 

He  reached  Eochester  about  noon  on  the  day  fixed  for  the 
benefit,  rehearsed  half-a-dozen  pantomime  scenes,  and  having 


dined,  went  to  the  theatre,  every  portion  of  which  was  crammea 
before  six  o'clock.  On  his  appearance,  he  was  received  with  a 
tremendous  shout  of  welcome  ;  his  two  comic  songs  were  each 
encored  three  times,  and  the  whole  performances  went  off  with 
great  eclat.  Mrs.  Baker,  the  manager  or  manageress,  at  once 
offered  him  an  engagement  for  the  two  following  nights,  the 
receipts  of  the  house  to  he  divided  hetween  them.  His  accept- 
ance  of  this  proposal  delighted  the  old  lady  so  much,  that  the 
arrangement  was  no  sooner  concluded  than  she  straightway 
walked  upon  the  stage,  dressed  in  the  bonnet  and  shawl  in  which 
she  had  been  taking  the  money  and  giving  the  checks,  and  in 
an  audible  voice  gave  out  the  entertainments  herself,  to  the 
immense  delight  of  the  audience,  who  shouted  vociferously. 

This  old  lady  appears  to  have  been  a  very  droll  personage 
She  managed  all  her  affairs  herself,  and  her  pecuniary  matters 
were  conducted  on  a  principle  quite  her  own.  She  never  put 
her  money  out  at  interest,  or  employed  it  in  any  speculative  or 
profitable  manner,  but  kept  it  in  six  or  eight  large  punch- 
bowls, which  always  stood  upon  the  top  shelf  of  a  bureau,  except 
when  she  was  disposed  to  make  herself  particularly  happy,  and 
then  she  would  take  them  down  singly,  and  after  treating  herself 
with  a  sly  look  at  their  contents,  put  them  up  again. 

This  old  lady  had  a  factotum  to  whom  attached  the  elegant 
sobriquet  of  "Bony  Long  ;"  the  gentleman's  name  being  Long, 
and  his  appearance  bony.  At  a  supper  after  the  play,  at  which 
the  guests  were  Lund,  Grimaldi,  Henry  and  William  Dowton 
(sons  of  the  celebrated  actor  of  that  name),  the  manageress,  and 
"  Bony,"  it  was  arranged  that  Grimaldi  should  perform  Scara- 
mouch, in  "Don  Juan,"  on  the  following  night.  A  slight  difficulty 
occurred,  in  consequence  of  his  having  brought  from  London  no 
other  dress  than  a  clown's  ;  but  Mrs.  Baker  provided  against  it 
by  sending  for  one  Mr.  Palmer,  then  a  respectable  draper  and 
tailor  at  Eochester,  who,  having  received  the  actor's  instructions, 
manufactured  for  him  the  best  Scaramouch  dress  he  ever  wore. 
The  assurances  which  were  given  the  artist  at  the  time  that 
his  abilities  lay  in  the  theatrical  way  were  not  without  good 
foundation,  for  two  years  afterwards  he  left  Eochester,  came  to 
London,  and  became  principal  ^master-tailor  at  Covent  Garden 
Theatre.  He  held  the  situation  for  some  years,  and  then 
removed  to  Drury  Lane  and  filled  the  same  office,  which  he  still 
continues  to  hold. 

On  the  second  night,  the  house  was  filled  in  every  part,  and  a 
great  number  of  persons  were  turned  away.  On  the  following 
evening,  on  which  he  made  his  last  appearance,  and  repeated 
the  part  of  Scaramouch  together  with  that  of  Clown ;  the  orchestra 
was  turned  into  boxes,  seats  were  fitted  up  on  every  inch  of 
available  room  behind  the  scenes,  and  the  receipts  exceeded  in 
amount  those  of  any  former  occasion. 

At  another  supper  that  night  with  Mrs.  Baker,  he  made  an 



arrangement  to  join  her  company  for  a  night  or  two,  at  Maid- 
stone,  in  the  following^March,  provided  his  London  engagements 
would  admit  of  his  doing  so.  They  were  not  at  all  behindhand 
with  the  money;  for,  at  eight  o'clock  next  morning,  "Bony 
Long  "  repaired  to  his  lodgings,  taking  with  him  an  account  of 
the  two  nights'  receipts,  Grimaldi's  share  whereof  came  to  160?., 
which  was  at  once  paid  over  to  him,  down  upon  the  nail,  all  in 
three-shilling  pieces.  This  was  an  addition  to  his  baggage  which 
he  had  not  expected,  and  he  was  rather  at  a  loss  how  to  convey 
his  loose  silver  up  to  town,  when  he  was  relieved  by  a  tavern- 
keeper,  who  being  as  glad  to  take  the  silver  as  Grimaldi  was  to 
get  notes,  very; soon  made  the  exchange,  to  the  satisfaction  of  all 
parties.  _  Having  had  this  satisfactory  settlement  with  the  old 
lady,  Grimaldi  took  his  leave,  and  returned  to  town,  not  at  all 
displeased  with  the  success  which  had  attended  his  first  pro- 
fessional excursion  from  London. 

At  Christmas,  "Harlequin  Amulet"  was  revived  at Drury  Lane, 
in  place  of  a  new  pantomime,  and  ran  without  interruption  till 
the  end  of  January  following ;  drawing  as  much  money  as  it 
had  in  the  previous  year.  It  was  during  this  season,  or  about 
this  time,  that  Grimaldi's  old  friend  Davis,  or  "Jew  Davis,"  as 
he  was  called,  made  his  first  appearance  at  Drury  Lane.  This 
is  the  man  whose  eccentricity  gave  rise  to  a  ludicrous  anecdote 
of  John  Kemble,  of  which  the  following  is  a  correct  version : 

Kemble  was  once  "starring"  in  the  north  of  England,  and 
paid  a  visit  to  the  provincial  theatre  in  which  Jew  Davis  was 
engaged,  where  he  was  announced  for  Hamlet.  Every  member 
of  the  little  company  was  necessarily  called  into  requisition, 
and  Jew  Davis  was  "  cast"  to  play  the  first  grave-digger.  All 
went  well  until  the  first  scene  of  the  fifth  act,  being  the  identical 
one  in  which  Davis  was  called  upon  to  appear :  and  here  the 
equanimity  and  good  temper  ol  Kemble  were  considerably 
shaken :  the  grave-digger's  representative  having  contracted  a 
habit  of  grimacing  which,  however  valuable  in  burlesque  or 
farce,  was  far  from  being  at  all  desirable  in  tragedy,  and  least 
of  all  in  that  philosophical  tragedy  of  which  Hamlet  is  the  hero. 
But  if  the  actor  had  contracted  a  habit  of  grimacing  upon  his 
part,  the  audience  upon  its  part  had  contracted  an  equally  con- 
stant habit  of  laughing  at  him :  so  the  great  tragedian,  moral- 
izing over  the  skull  of  Yorick,  was  frequently  interrupted  by  the 
loud  roars  of  laughter  attendant  upon  the  grave-digger's  strangely 
comical  and  increasing  grins. 

This  greatly  excited  the  wrath  of  Kemble,  and  after  the  play 
was  finished,  lie  remonstrated  somewhat  angrily  with  Davis  upon 
the  subject,  requesting  that  such  "  senseless  buffoonery"  might 
not  be  repeated  in  the  event  of  their  sustaining  the  same  parts 
on  any  subsequent  occasion.  All  this  was  far  from  answering 
the  end  proposed  :  the  peculiarities  of  temper  belonging  to  Jew 


Davis  were  aroused,  and  he  somewhat  tartly  replied  that  he  did 
not  wish  to  be  taught  his  profession  by  Mr.  Kemble.  The  latter 
took  no  further  notice  of  the  subject,  but  pursued  the  even 
tenour  of  his  way  with  so  beneficial  an  effect  upon  the  treasury 
that  his  engagement  was  renewed  for  "  a  few  nights  more,"  and 
on  the  last  of  these  "  few  nights  "  Hamlet  was  again  the  play 

As  before,  all  went  well  till  the^  grave-diggers'  scene  com- 
menced ;  when  Kemble,  while  waiting  for  his  "  cue"  to  go  on, 
listened  bodingly  to  the  roars  of  laughter  which  greeted  the 
colloquy  of  Davis  and  his  companion.  At  length  he  entered, 
and  at  the  same  moment,  Davis  having  manufactured  a  grotesque 
visage,  was  received  with  a  shout  of  laughter,  which  greatly 
tended  to  excite  the  anger  of  "  King  John. '  His  first  words 
were  spoken,  but  failed  to  make  any  impression :  and  upon 
turning  towards  Davis,  he  discovered  that  worthy  standing  in 
the  grave,  ^  displaying  a  series  of  highly  unsuitable  although 
richly  comic  grimaces. 

In  an  instant  all  Kemble's  good  temper  vanished,  and  stamping 
furiously  upon  the  stage,  he  expressed  his  anger  and  indignation 
in  a  muttered  exclamation,  closely  resembling  an  oath.  This 
ebullition  of  momentary  excitement  produced  an  odd  and  un- 
expected effect  No  sooner  did  Davis  hear  the  exclamation  and 
the  loud  stamping  of  the  angry  actor,  than  he  instantly  raised 
his  hands  ab9ve  his  head  in  mock  terror,  and,  clasping  them 
together  as  if  he  were  horrified  by  some  dreadful  spectacle, 
threw  into  his  face  an  expression  of  intense  terror,  and  uttered 
a  frightful  cry,  half  shout  and  half  scream,  which  electrified 
his  hearers.  Having  done  this,  he  very  coolly  laid  himself  flat 
down  in  the  grave,  (of  course  disappearing  from  the  view  of  the 
audience),  nor  could  any  entreaties  prevail  upon  him  to  emerge 
from  it,  or  to  repeat  one  word  more.  The  scene  was  done  as  we'll 
as  it  could  be,  without  a  grave-digger,  and  the  audience,  while 
it  was  proceeding,  loudly  expressed  their  apprehensions  from 
time  to  time,  "  that  some  accident  had  happened  to  Mr.  Davis." 

Some  months  after  this,  Sheridan  happening  to  see  Davis  act 
in  the  provinces,  and  being  struck  with  his  talents,  (he  was  con- 
sidered the  best  stage  Jew  upon  the  boards,)  engaged  him  for 
Drury  Lane  ;  and,  in  that  theatre,  on  the  first  day  of  the  ensuing 
season,  he  was  formally  introduced  by  Sheridan  to  John  Kemble, 
then  stage-manager.  By  the  latter  he  was  not  immediately 
recognised,  although  Kemble  evidently  remembered  having  seen 
him  somewhere ;  but,  after  a  time,  plainly  devoted  to  conside- 
ration, he  said — 

"  Oh, — ah,  ah  !  I  recollect  now.  You,  sir,  you  are  the  gen- 
tleman who  suddenly  went  into  the  grave,  and  forgot  to  come 
out  again,  I  think  ?" 

Davis  admitted  the  fact  without  equivocation,  and  hastened 

G  2 


to  apologise  for  his  ill-timed  jesting.  The  affair  was  related  io 
Sheridan,  to  whom,  it  is  needless  to  say,  it  afforded  the  most 
unbounded  delight,  and  all  three  joining  in  a  hearty  laugh, 
dismissed  the  subject. 

When  "  Harlequin  Amulet"  was  withdrawn,  there  was  very 
little  for  Grimaldi  to  do  during  the  rest  of  the  season.  On  the 
4th  of  March,  therefore,  in  pursuance  of  his  previous  arrange- 
ment, he  joined  the  old  lady  at  Maidstone,  and  was  announced 
for  Scaramouch. 

The  announcement  of  his  name  excited  an  unwonted  sensation. 
in  this  quiet  little  town.  As  early  as  half-past  four  o'clock  in 
the  afternoon,  the  street  in  front  of  the  theatre  was  rendered 
quite  impassable  by  the  vast  crowd  of  persons  that  surrounded 
the  doors.  Mrs.  Baker,  who  had  never  beheld  such  a  scene  in 
her  life-time,  became  at  first  very  much  delighted,  and  then  very 
much  frightened.  After  some  consideration,  she  despatched  a 
messenger  for  an  extra  quantity  of  constables,  and  upon  their 
arrival,  threw  the  doors  open  at  once,  previously  placing  herself 
in  the  pay-box,  according  to  custom,  to  take  the  money. 

"  Now,  then,  pit  or  box,  pit  or  gallery,  box  or  pit  ?"  was  her 
constant  and  uninterrupted  cry. 

"  Pit,  pit !"  from  half-a-dozen  voices,  the  owners  clinging  to 
the  little  desk  to  prevent  themselves  from  being  carried  away  by 
the  crowd  before  thevhad  paid. 

"  Then  pay  two  shillings, — pass  on,  Tom-fool !"  such  was  the 
old  lady's  invariable  address  to  everybody  on  busy  nights,  with- 
out the  slightest  reference  to  their  quality  or  condition. 

On  this  occasion  of  the  doors  being  opened  at  five  o'clock, 
when  the  house  was  quite  full  she  locked  up  the  box  in  which 
the  money  was  deposited,  and  going  round  to  the  stage,  ordered 
the  performances  to  be  commenced  immediately,  remarking,  with 
a  force  of  reasoning  which  it  was  impossible  to  controvert,  that 
"  the  house  could  be  but  full,  and  being  full  to  the  ceiling  now, 
they  might  just  as  well  begin  at  once,  and  have  it  over  so  much 
the  sooner."  The  performance  accordingly  began  without  delay, 
to  the  great  satisfaction  of  the  audience,  and  terminated  shortly 
after  nine  o'clock. 

Grimaldi  was  very  much  caressed  by  the  townspeople,  and 
received  several  invitations  to  dinner  next  day  from  gentlemen 
residing  in  the  neighbourhood ;  all  of  which  he  declined,  how- 
ever, being  already  engaged  to  the  eccentric  manageress,  who 
would  hardly  allow  him  out  of  her  sight.  Happening  to  walk 
about  the  town  in  the  course  of  the  morning,  he  was  recognised 
and  saluted  by  the  boys,  in  the  same  way  as  when  he  walked  the 
streets  of  London.  On  the  night  of  his  second  appearance,  the 
house  was  again  crowded,  the  door-keepers  having  managed, 
indeed,  by  some  ingenious  contrivance,  to  squeeze  three  pounds 
more  into  it  than  on  the  previous  night.  The  first  evening  pro- 


duced  154?.,  and  the  second  157?.  Of  the  gross  sum,  his  share 
was  155?.  17s.,  which  was  promptly  paid  to  him  after  supper,  on 
the  second  and  last  night. 

The  old  lady  had  no  sooner  handed  it  over  through  the  ever 
useful  Bony,  than  she  proposed  to  Grimaldi  to  go  on  with  them 
to  Canterbury,  and  to  act  there  for  the^  next  two  nights  upon 
similar  terms.  He  no  sooner  signified  his  willingness  to  do  so, 
than  she  directed  bills  for  distribution  to  be  made  out,  and  sent 
to  the  printer's  instantly.  They  were  composed  and  printed  by 
four  o'clock  in  the  morning.  No  sooner  did  they  arrive  wet 
from  the  press,  than  men  on  horseback  were  immediately  de- 
spatched with  them  to  Canterbury,  about  which  city  the  whole 
impression  was  circulated  and  posted  before  nine  o'clock.  The 
old  lady  had  theatres  at  Eochester,  Maidstone,  and  Canterbury, 
besides  many  other  towns  in  the  circuit,  and  the  size  of  the 
whole  being  very  nearly  the  same,  the  scenery  which  was  suit- 
able to  one  fitted  them  all.  Early  in  the  morning,  the  whole 
company  left  Maidstone  for  Canterbury,  whither  Grimaldi  fol- 
lowed in  a  post-chaise  at  his  leisure.  When  he  arrived  there 
about  one  o'clock,  everything  was  ready ;  no  rehearsal  was  ne- 
cessary, for  there  were  the  same  performers,  the  same  musicians, 
scene-shifters,  and  lamp-lighters.  Having  inspected  the  box- 
book,  which  notified  that  every  takeable  seat  in  the  house  was 
taken,  he  retired  to  Mrs.  Baker's  sitting-room,  which  was  the 
very  model  of  the  one  at  Maidstone  and  at  Eochester  too,  and 
found  a  good  dinner  awaiting  his  arrival.  Here  he  was,  and 
here  they  all  were,  in  the  city  of  Canterbury,  about  twenty  miles 
from  Maidstone,  at  one  o'clock  in  the  day,  with  the  same  scenery, 
dresses,  decorations,  and  transformations  as  had  been  in  use  at 
the  latter  theatre  late  over-night,  surrounded  by  the  same  actors, 
male  and  female,  and  playing  in  the  same  pieces  which  had  been 
represented  by  the  same  men  and  women,  and  the  same  adjuncts, 
fourteen  hours  before  at  Maidstone. 

He  played  here  two  nights,  as  had  been  agreed  upon,  to  very 
nearly  the  same  houses  as  at  Maidstone ;  the  first  night's  cash 
being  151?.  3*.,  and  the  second  159?.  17s.,  of  which  he 
received  155?.  9*.  6a.  Early  the  next  morning  he  returned  to 
London  with  311/.  6s.  6d.  in  his  pocket,  the  profits  he  had 
acquired  during  an  absence  from  the  metropolis  of  only  four 
days'  duration. 

Shortly  after  his  return  to  town,  and  about  a  week  before 
Easter,  he  saw  with  great  astonishment  that  it  was  announced, 
or,  to  use  the  theatrical  term,  "  underlined,"  in  the  Drury  Lane 
bills,  that  "  Harlequin  Amulet"  would  be  revived  at  Easter,  and 
that  Mr.  Grimaldi  would  sustain  his  original  character.  This 
announcement  being  in  direct  violation  of  his  articles  of  agree- 
ment at  Drury  Lane,  and  wholly  inconsistent  with  the  terms  of 
Ms  engagement  at  Sadler's  Wells,  he  had  no  alternative  but  at 


wice  to  wait  upon  Mr.  John  Kemble,  the  stage-manager  of  the 
former  theatre,  and  explain  to  him  the  exact  nature  of  his 

He  found  John  Kemble  at  the  theatre,  who  received  him  with 
all  the  grandeur  and  authority  of  demeanour  which  it  was  his 
fcabit  to  assume  when  he  was  about  to  insist  upon  something 
which  he  knew  would  be  resisted.  Grimaldi  bowed,  and  Kemble 
formally  and  gravely  touched  his  hat. 

"  Joe,"  said  Kemble,  with  great  dignity,  "  what  is  the 

In  reply,  Grimaldi  briefly  stated  his  case,  pointing  out  that 
he  was  engaged  by  his  articles  at  Drury_to  play  in  last  pieces 
at  and  after  Easter,  but  not  in  pantomime ;  that  at  Sadler's 
Wells  he  was  bound  to  perform-  in  the  first  piece ;  that  these 
distinct  engagements  had"  never  before  been  interfered  with  by 
the  management  of  either  theatre  in  the  most  remote  manner 
upon  any  one  occasion  ;  and  that,  however  much  he  regretted 
the  inconvenience  to  which  his  refusal  might  give  rise,  he  could 
not  possibly  perform  the  part  for  which  he  had  been  announced 
at  Drury  Lane. 

Kemble  listened  to  these  representations  with  a  grave  and 
tmmpved  countenance  ;  and  when  Grimaldi  had  finished,  after 
waiting  a  moment,  as  if  to  make  certain  that  he  had  really 
concluded,  rose  from  his  seat,  and  said  in  a  solemn  tone,  "  Joe, 
one  word  here,  sir,  is  as  good  as  a  thousand — you  must  come  ! " 

Joe  felt  excessively  indignant  at  this,  not  merely  because 
must  is  a  disagreeable  word  in  itself,  but  because  he  conceived 
that  the  tone  in  which  it  was  uttered  rendered  it  additionally 
disagreeable  ;  so,  saying  at  once  what  the  feeling  of  the  moment 
prompted,  he  replied,  "Yery  good,  sir.  In  reply  to  must,  there 
is  only  one  thing  that  can  very  well  be  said : — I  will  not  come, 

"  Will  not,  Joe, — eh  ?"  said  Kemble. 

"  I  will  not,  sir,"  replied  Grimaldi. 

"  Not ! "  said  Kemble  again,  with  great  emphasis. 

Grimaldi  repeated  the  monosyllable  with  equal  vehemence.  ^ 

"  Then,  Joe,"  said  Kemble,  taking  off  his  hat,  and  bowing  in 
a  ghost-like  manner,  "  I  wish  you  a  very  good  morning  ! " 

Grimaldi  took  off  his  hat,  made  another  low  bow,  and  wished 
Mr.  Kemble  good  morning ;  and  so  they  parted. 

Next  day  his  name  was  taken  from  the  bills,  and  that  of 
some  other  performer,  quite  unknown  to  the  London  stage,  was 
inserted  instead ;  which  performer,  when  he  did  come  out,  went 
in  again — for  he  failed  so  signally  that  the  pantomime  wa#  not 
played  after  the  Monday  night. 

•  In  the  short  interval  between  this  interview  and  the  Easter 
holidays,  Grimaldi  was  engaged  in  the  study  of  a  new  part  for 
Sadler's  Wells,  which  was  a  very  prominent  character  in  s.  piece 


bearing  the  sonorous  and  attractive  title  of  the  "  Great  Devil."* 
He  entertained  very  strong  hopes  that  both  the  part  and  the 
piece  would  be  very  successful ;  and  how  far  his  expectations 
were  borne  out  by  subsequent  occurrences,  the  next  chapter  will 

*  The  Serio-Comic  Spectacle  of  "  The  Great  Devil ;  or,  The  Eobber  of  Genoa," 
was  produced  late  in  the  season  of  1801,  early  in  September,  and  on  the  14th  of 
that  month  was  performed  *"er  C.  Dibdin's  benefit.  Nicola,  by  Mr.  Grimaldi ; 
Bridget,  by  Mrs.  Davis ;  Gattie,  some  years  afterwards  distinguished  for  his 
performance  of  Mona.  Morbleu,  at  Drury  Lane,  had  also  a  singing  part  in  the 


1802  to  1803. 

Hard  work  to  counterbalance  great  gains— His  discharge  from  Drury  Lane,  and 
his  discharge  at  Sadler's  Wells — His  return  to  the  former  house — Monk 
Lewis — Anecdote  of  him  and  Sheridan,  and  of  Sheridan  and  the  Prince  of 
Wales — Grimaldi  gains  a  Son  and  loses  all  his  capital. 

THE  "  Great  Devil"  came  out  on  Easter  Monday,*  and  its 
success  entailed  upon  Grimaldi  no  inconsiderable  degree  of 
trouble  and  fatigue.  He  played  two  parts  in  it,  and,  to  say 
nothing  of  such  slight  exertions  as  acting  and  fighting,  had  to 
change  his  dress  no  fewer  than  nineteen  times  in  the  progress  of 
the  piece.  It  made  a  great  noise,  and  ran  the  whole  season 

As  we  had  occasion  to  notice  in  the  last  chapter  the  ease  with 
which  he  acquired  a  large  sum  of  money  by  his  professional 
exertions,  and  as  we  may  have  to  describe  other  large  gains 
hereafter,  it  may  not  be  amiss  to  show  in  this  place  how  much 
of  fatigue  and  harassing  duty  those  exertions  involved,  and 
how  much  of  bodily  toil  and  fatigue  he  had  to  endure  before 
those  gains  could  be  counted. 

At  Sadler's  Wells  he  commenced  the  labour  of  the  evening  by 
playing  a  long  and  arduous  part  in  the  before-mentioned  "  Great 
l)evil ;"  after  this  he  played  in  some  little  burletta  which  imme- 
diately succeeded  it ;  upon  conclusion  of  that  he  was  clown  to 
the  rope-dancer ;  and,  as  a  wind-up  to  the  entertainments,  he 
appeared  as  clown  in  the  pantomime,  always  singing  two  comic 
songs  in  the  course  of  the  piece,  both  of  which  were  regularly 
encored.  He  had  then  to  change  his  dress  with  all  possible 

*  Sadler's  Wells  Theatre,  the  interior  of  which  had  been  wholly  rebuilt  since 
the  close  of  the  season,  in  1801,  opened  on  Easter  Monday,  April  19,  1802,  with 
an  occasional  Burletta  Prelude,  entitled  "  Old  Sadler's  Ghost ;"  a  new  Comic 
Dance,  called  "The  Jew  Cobbler,"  in  which  M.  Joubert,  from  Paris,  as  prin- 
cipal dancer,  made  his  first  appearance  in  England ;  the  Serio-Comic  Pantomime 
of  "  The  Great  Devil,"  with  alterations  and  new  dresses;  and  an  entirely  new 
Comic  Pantomime,  called  "  Harlequin  Greenlander ;  or,  The  Whale  Fishery." 
In  "  The  Great  Devil,"  Bologna,  jun.,  after  an  absence  of  eight  years,  played  th» 
part  of  Satani,  the  Great  Devil.  Kudolpho,  Mons.  Gouriet;  Nicola,  Mr. 
Grimaldi ;  Count  Ludovico,  Mr.  Hartland;  Bridget,  Mrs.  Davis;  the  Countess, 
Madame  St.  A  maud. 


speed,  and  take  a  hurried  walk,  and  often  a  rapid  run,  to  Drurj 
Lane,  to  perform  in  the  last  piece.* 

This  immense  fatigue,  undergone  six  days  out  of  every  seven, 
left  him  at  the  conclusion  of  the  week  completely  worn  out  and 
thoroughly  exhausted,  and,  beyond  all  doubt,  by  taxing  his 
bodily  energies  far  beyond  their  natural  powers,  sowed  the  first 
seeds  of  that  extreme  debility  and  utter  prostration  of  strength 
from  which,  in  the  latter  years  of  his  life^he  suffered  so  much. 
The  old  man  had  a  good  right  to  say  that,  if  his  gains  had  been 
occasionally  great,  they  were  won  by  labour  more  than  propor- 

His  attention  to  his  duties  and  invariable  punctuality  were 
always  remarkable.  To  his  possession  in  an  eminent  degree  of 
these  qualities,  may  be  attributed  the  fact,  that  during  the  whole 
of  his  dramatic  career,  long  and  arduous  as  it  was,  he  never 
once  disappointed  the  public,  or  failed  in  his  attendance  at  the 
theatre  to  perform  any  part  for  which  he  was  cast. 

He  continued  to  attend  his  duties  as  a  member  of  the  Drury 
Lane  company  for  three  months  without  finding  that  any  violent 
consequences  arose  from  his  interview  with  John  Kemble.  The 
only  perceptible  difference  was,  that  when  they  met,  Kemble, 
instead  of  accosting  him  familiarly,  as  he  had  before  been 
accustomed  to  do,  would  pull  off  hisnat  and  make  him  a  formal 
bow,  which  Grimaldi  would  return  in  precisely  the  same  man- 
ner ;  so  that  their  occasional  meetings  were  characterised  by 
something  about  half-way  between  politeness  and  absurdity. 
All  this  pleased  Grimaldi  very  much,  but  rather  surprised  him 
too,  for  he  had  confidently  expected  that  some  rupture  would 
have  followed  the  announcement  of  his  determination  not  to  act. 
He  was  not  very  long,  however,  in  finding  that  his  original 
apprehensions  were  correct,  for  on  the  26th  of  June  he  received 
the  following  epistle  : — 

"Drury  Lane  Theatre. 


"  I  am  requested  by  the  proprietors  to  inform  you  that  your 
services  will  be  dispensed  with  for  the  next  ensuing  season." 

This  notice^was  signed  by  Powell,  the  then  prompter,  and  its 
contents  considerably  annoyed  and  irritated  the  person  to  whom 
it  was  addressed.  To  command  him  in  the  first  place  to  perform 
what  was  out  of  his  engagement  and  out  of  his  power,  and  to 

*  This  summary  of  Joe's  exertions  is  over-stated :  in  tne  Spectacles  Joe 
generally  had  a  part,  particularly  where  combatants  were  employed ;  but  not 
in  any  of  the  little  Burlettas  alluded  to,  nor  was  he  ever  Clown  to  the  rope  :  aa 
Clown  in  the  Pantomime,  his  name  certainly  appears  in  the  Sadler's  Wells'  an- 

—by  ,  _  _D w 

Grimaldi  appears  to  have  always  teen  in  a  position  to  play  at  Drury TLane  and 
Co  vent  Garden,  to  the  exclusion  of  any  demand  on  his  services  at  Sadler's 


punish  him  in  the  next  lay  dispensing  with  his  services,  which 
of  consequence  involved  his  dispensing  with  his  salary,  seemed 
exceedingly  harsh  and  unjust  treatment.  For  a  time  he  even 
contemplated  bringing  an  action  against  Sheridan,  against  whom, 
tinder  the  terms  of  his  agreement,  he  would  in  all  probability 
.have  obtained  a  verdict;  but  he  ultimately  gave  up  all  idea  of 
seeking  this  mode  of  redress,  and  determined  to  consult  his 
staunch  and  sincere  friend  Mr.  Hughes,  by  whose  advice  he  was 
always  guided.  To  that  gentleman's  house  he  repaired,  and 
showing  him  the  notice  he  had  received,  inquired  what  in  his 
opinion  he  had  best  do. 

"Burn  the  letter,"  said  Hughes,  "and  don't  waste  a  minute 
in  thinking  about  it.  You  shall  go  with  me  to  Exeter  as  soon  as 
the  Sadler's  Wells  season  is  over,  and  stop  there  until  it  recom- 
mences. You  shall  have  four  pounds  a  week  all  the  time,  and  a 
clear  benefit.  It  will  be  strange  if  this  does  not  turn  out  better 
for  you  than  your  present  engagement  at  Drury  Lane." 

He  accepted  the  terms  so  kindly  offered,  without  a  moment's 
hesitation,  and  determining  to  be  guided  by  the  advice  of  Mr. 
Hughes,  thought  no  more  about  the  matter. 

At  Sadler's  Wells  the  summer  season  went  on  very  briskly  until 
August,  when  a  circumstance  occurred  which  impeded  the  course 
of  his  success  for  some  time,  and  might  have  been  attended  with 
much  more  dangerous  consequences.  He  played  the  first  lieu? 
tenant  of  a  band  of  robbers  in  the  before-mentioned  "  Great 
Devil,"*  and  in^  one ^ scene ^ had  a  pistol  secreted  in  his  boot, 
which,  at  a  certain  point  of  interest,  he  drew  forth,  presented  at 
some  of  the  characters  on  the  stage,  and  fired  off,  thus  producing 
what  is  technically  termed  an  effect ;  in  the  production  of  which 
on  the  evening  of  the  14th  of  August,  he  very^unintentionally 
presented  another  effect,  the  consequences  of  which  confined  him 
to  his  bed  for  upwards  of  a  month.  While  he  was  in  the  act  of 
drawing  out  the  pistol,  the  trigger  by  some  accident  caught  in  the 
loop  of  the  boot,  into  which  _  (the  muzzle  being  downwards)  its 
contents  were  immediately  discharged.  The  boot  itself  puffed 
out  to  a  great  size,  presenting  a  very  laughter-moving  appear- 
ance to  everybody  but  the  individual  in  it,  who  was  suffering  the 
most  excruciating  agony.  Determined  not  to  mar  the  effect  of 

*  The  "  Great  Devil"  ceased  to  be  played  at  Sadler's  Wells  the  last  week  in 
May,  1802  ;  the  accident  particularized  as  having  occurred  on  the  14th  of  August, 
was,  therefore,  not  during  the  performance  of  that  piece,  but  on  the  last  night 
of  the  pantomime  of  "St.  George,"  in  which  it  was  announced  would  be 
presented  several  unexampled  and  unparalleled  combats,  exclusive  of  the 
combat  with  the  Dragon,  which  involves  St.  George  in  a  shower  of  fire :  the 
consequences,  however,  did  not  "confine  him  to  his  bed  for  upwards  of  a 
month,"  as  the  bill  of  Monday,  August  30,  mentions  the  performance  of  the  new 
oerio-comic  Pantomime  of  "  Zoa,"  in  which  would  be  performed  an  extraor- 
dinary combat  of  six,  by  Bologna,  jun.,  Grimaldi,  Gattie,  Hartland,  and  others, 
to  conclude  with,  fourth  time,  "  The  Wizard's  Wake ;  or,  Harlequin's  Regener- 
ation ;"  Harlequin,  Mr.  Bologna,  jun. ;  Merlin,  Mr.  Gattie;  Clown,  Mr. 


the  scene,  however,  by  leaving  the  stage  before  it  WAS  finished, 
he  _  remained  on  until  its  conclusion ;  and  then,  when  by  the 
assistance  of  several  persons  the  boot  was  got  off  it  was  found 
that  the  explosion  had  set  fire  to  the  stocking,  which  had  been 
burning  slowly  all  the  time  he  had  remained  upon  the  stage ; 
besides  which,  the  wadding  was  still  alight  and  resting  upon 
the  foot.  He  was  taken  home  and  placed  under  medical  care  ; 
but  the  accident  confined  him  to  the  house  for  more  than  a 

At  length,  after  a  tedious,  and,  as  it  appeared  to  him  then, 
almost  an  interminable  confinement,  he  resumed  his  duties  at 
Sadler's  Wells  Theatre,  and  the  part  also.  But  the  effect  was 
never  _  more  produced;  for  from  that  time  forth  the  pistol  was 
worn  in  his  belt,  in  compliance  with  the  established  usages  of 
robber-chieftains  upon  the  stage,  who,  at  minor  theatres 
especially,  would  be  quite  incomplete  and  out  of  character  with- 
out a  very  broad  black  belt,  with  a  huge  buckle,  and  at  least 
two  brace  of  pistols  stuck  into  it. 

During  this  illness  he  received  great  attention  and  kindness 
from  Miss  Bristow,  one  of  the  actresses  at  Drury  Lane  Theatre. 
She  attended  upon  him  every  morning  to  assist  in  dressing  the 
wound,  and  enlivened  the  hours  which  would  otherwise  have 
been  very  weary,  by  her  company  and  conversation.  In  grati- 
tude for  her  kindness,  Grimaldi  married  her  on  the  following 
•  Christmas  Eye,  and  it  may  be  as  well  to  state  in  this  place,  that 
with  her  he  lived  very  happily  for  more  than  thirty  years  ;  when 
she  died. 

Drury  Lane  opened  on  the  30th  of  September,  with  "As  You 
Like  It,"  and  "  Blue  Beard,"  Grimaldi's  chief  part  in  this  piece 
was  a  combat  in  the  last  scene  but  one ;  which,  being  very  effec- 
tive, had  always  been  regularly  and  vociferously  applauded.  It 
was  not  originally  in  the  piece,  but  had  been  "  invented,"  and 
arranged  with  appropriate  music  for  the  purpose  of  keeping  the 
attention  of  the  house  engaged,  while  the  last  scene,  which  was 
a  very  heavy  one,  was  being  "  set  up."  Now,  if  any  fresh  com- 
batant had  been  ready  in  Grimaldi's  place,  very  probably  the 
piece  might  have  gone  off  as  well  as  it  had  theretofore,  but 
Kemble,  who  was  then  stage-manager*  as  has  been  before  stated, 
totally  forgetting  the  reason  of  the  combat's  introduction,  omit- 
ted to  provide  any  substitute.  The  omission  was  pointed  out  at 
rehearsal,  and  then  he  gave  directions  that  it  should  be  altogether 
dispensed  with. 

The  effect  of  this  order  was  very  unsatisfactory  both  to  himself 
and  the  public. 

There  was  a  very  full  house  at  night,  and  the  play  went  off  as 
well  as  it  could,  and  so  did  the  afterpiece  up  to  the  time  when 
the  last  scene  should  have^een  displayed ;  but  here  the  stage- 
manager  discovered  his  mistake  too  late.  The  last  scene  was 
vnot  ready,  it  being  quite  impossible  to  prepare  it  in  time,  and 


the  consequence  was,  that  the  audience,  instead  of  looking  at  the 
combat,  were  left  to  look  at  each  other  or  at  the  empty  stage,  as 
they  thought  fit.  Upon  this,  there  gradually  arose  many  hisses 
and  other  expressions  of  disapprobation,  and  at  last  some  play- 
goer in  the  pit,  who  all  at  once  remembered  the  combat,  shouted 
out  very  loudly  for  it.  The  cry  was  instantly  taken  up  and 
became  universal :  some  demanded  the  combat,  others  required 
an  apology  for  the  omission  ^of  the  combat,  a  few  called  upon 
Kemble  to  fight  the  combat  himself,  and  a  scene  of  great  com- 
motion ensued.  The  exhibition  of  the  last  scene,  instead  of 
allaying  the  tumult,  only  increased  it,  and  when  the  curtain  fell, 
it  was  in  the  midst  of  a  storm  of  hisses  and  disapprobation. 

It  so  happened  that  Sheridan  had  been  sitting  in  his  own 
private  box  with  a  party  of  friends  all  the  evening,  frequently 
congratulating  himself  on  the  crowded  state  of  the  house,  and 
repeatedly  expatiating  upon  the  admirable  manner  in  which 
both  pieces  went  off.  He  was  consequently  not  a  little  annoyed 
at  the  sudden  change  in  the  temper  of  the  audience ;  and  not 
only  that,  but,  as  he  knew  nothing  at  all  about  the  unlucky 
combat,  very  much  confounded  and  amazed  into  the  bargain. 
The  moment  the  curtain  was  down,  he  rushed  on  to  the  stage, 
where  the  characters  had  formed  a  picture,  and  in  a  loud  and 
alarming  voice  exclaimed — 

"  Let  no  one  stir !" 

Nobody  did  stir ;  and  Sheridan  walking  to  the  middle  of  the 
proscenium,  and  standing  with  his  back  to  the  curtain,  said  in 
the  most  solemn  manner, 

"In  this  affair  I  am  determined  to  be  satisfied,  and  I  call 
upon  somebody  here  to  answer  me  one  question.  What  is  the 
cause  of  this  infernal  clamour  ?" 

This  question  was  put  in  such  an  all-important  way,  that  no 
one  ventured  to  reply  until  some  seconds  had  elapsed,  when 
Barrymore,  who  played  Blue  Beard,  stepped  forward  and  said, 
that  the  fact  was,  there  had  formerly  been  a  combat  between 
Mr.  Hoffey  and  Joe,  and  the  audience  was  dissatisfied  at  its  not 
being  done. 

"And  why  was  it  not  done,  sir?  "Why  was  it  not  done? 
"Where  is  Joe,  sir  ?" 

"  Really,  sir,"  replied  Barrymore,  "it  is  impossible  for  me  to 
say  where  he  may  be.  Our  old  friend  Joe  was  dismissed  at  the 
close  of  the  last  season  by  the  stage-manager." 

At  this  speech  Sheridan  fell  into  a  great  rage,  said  a  great 
many  angry  things,  and  made  a  great  many  profoundly  im- 
portant statements,  to  the  effect  that  he  would  be  master  of  his 
own  house,  and  that  nobody  should  manage  for  him,  and  so 
forth ;  all  of  which  was  said  in  a  manner  more  or  less  polite. 
He  concluded  by  directing  the  "  call"  porter  of  the  theatre  to  go 
immediately  to  "  Joe's"  house,  and  to  request  him  to  be  upon 
the  stage  at  twelve  precisely  next  day.  He  then  took  off  his 


hat  with  a  great  flourish,  made  a  polite  bow  to  the  actors  and 
actresses  on.  the  stage,  and  walked  very  solemnly  away. 

He  received  Grimaldi  very  kindly  next  day,  and  reinstated 
him  in  the  situation  he  had  previously  held,  adding  unasked  a 
pound  a  week  to  his  former  salary,  "  in  order,"  as  he  expressed 
himself,  "that  matters  might  be  arranged  in  a  manner  pro- 
foundly satisfactory." 

On  the  day  after,  "  Harlequin  Amulet "  flourished  in  the 
bills  in  large  letters  for  the  following  Monday ;  a  rehearsal 
was  called,  and  during  its  progress  Kemble  took  an  opportunity 
of  encountering  Grimaldi,  and  said,  with  great  good  humour, 
that  he  was  very  glad  to  see  him  there  again,  and  that  he  hoped 
it  would  be  very  long  before  they  parted  company.  In  this  ex- 
pression of  feeling  Grimaldi  very  heartily  concurred;  and  so 
ended  his  discharge  from  Drury  Lane  Theatre,  entailing  upon 
him  no  more  unpleasant  consequences  than  the  easily-borne 
infliction  of  an  increased  salary.  So  ended,  also,  the  Exeter 
scheme,  which  was  abandoned  at  once  by  Mr.  Hughes,  whose 
only  object  had  been  to  serve  his  son-in-law. 

"  About  this  time,"  says  Grimaldi,  "  I  used  frequently  to  see 
the  late  Mr.  M.  G.  Lewis,  commonly  called  Monk  Lewis,  on 
account  of  his  being  the  author  of  a  well-known  novel,  better 
known  from  its  dramatic  power  than  from  its  strait-laced  pro- 
priety or  morality  of  purpose.  He  was  an  effeminate  looking 
man,  almost  constantly  lounging  about  the  green-room  of  Drury 
Lane,  and  entering  into  conversation  with  the  ladies  and  gen- 
tlemen, but  in  a  manner  so  peculiar,  so  namby-pamby  (I  cannot 
think  at  this  moment  of  a  more  appropriate  term),  that  it  was 
far  from  pleasing  a  majority  of  those  thus  addressed.  His  writings 
prove  him  to  have  been  a  clever  man  ;  a  consummation  which 
his  conversation  would  most  certainly  have  failed  signally  in. 
producing.  I  have  often  thought  that  Sheridan  used  to  laugh 
in  his  sleeve  at  this  gentleman ;  and  I  have,  indeed,  very  good 
reason  for  believing  that  Lewis,  upon  many  more  occasions  than 
one,  was  the  undisguised  butt  of  our  manager.  Be  that  as  it 
may,  Monk  Lewis's  play  of  the  Castle  Spectre  was  most  un- 
doubtedly a  great  card  for  Drury  Lane ;  it  drew  immense 
houses,  and  almost  invariably  went  off  with  loud  applause.  I 
have  heard  the  following  anecdote  related,  which,  if  true, 
clearly  proves  that  Sheridan  by  no  means  thought  so  highly  of 
this  drama  as  did  the  public  at  large.  One  evening  it  chanced 
that  these  two  companions  were  sitting  at  some  tavern  in  the 
neighbourhood  discussing  the  merits  of  a  disputed  question  and 
a  divided  bottle,  when  Lewis,  warming  with  his  subject,  offered 
to  back  his  opinion  with  a  bet. 

"What  will  you  wager?"  inquired  Sheridan,  who  began  to 
doubt  whether  his  was  not  the  wrong  side  of  the  argument. 

"  I'll  bet  you  one  night's  receipts  of  the  Castle  Spectre !" 
exclaimed  the  author. 


"Ko,"  replied  the  manager;  "that  would  be  too  heavy  a 
wager  for  so  trifling  a  matter.  I'll  tell  you  what  I'll  do — I'll 
bet  you  its  intrinsic  worth  as  a  literary  production  !" 

Lewis  received  these  little  sallies  from  his  lively  acquaintance 
with  the  most  perfect  equanimity  of  temper,  never  manifesting 
annoyance  by  action  further  than  by  passing  his  hand  through 
his  light-coloured  hair,  or  by  word  further  than  a  murmured 
interjection  of  "  Hum !'*  or  "  Hah  !" 

There  is  another  little  anecdote  in  this  place  which  we  will 
also  leave  Grimaldi  to  tell  in  his  own  way. 

"  In  the  winter  of  the  year  I  frequently  had  the  honour  of 
seeing  his  late  Majesty  George  the  Eourth,  then  Prince  of  Wales, 
who  used  to  be  much  behind  the  scenes  of  Drury  Lane,  delight- 
ing everybody  with  his  affability,  his  gentlemanly  manners,  and 
his  witty  remarks.  On  Twelfth  Night,  1802,  we  all  assembled 
in  the  green-room  as  usual  on  that  anniversary  at  Drury  Lane 
Theatre,  to  eat  cake,  given  by  the  late  Mr.  Baddeley,  who  by 
his  will  left  three  guineas  to  be  spent  in  the  purchase  of  a 
Twelfth-cake  for  the  company  of  that  theatre.  In  the  midst  of 
our  merriment,  Sheridan,  accompanied  by  the  Prince,  entered 
the  apartment,  and  the  former  looking  at  the  cake,  and  noticing 
a  large  crown  with  which  it  was  surmounted,  playfully  said, 
'  It  is  not  right  that  a  crown  should  be  the  property  of  a  cake : 
what  say  you,  George  ?'  The  Prince_  merely  laughed :  and 
Sheridan,  taking  up  the  crown,  offered  it  to  him,  adding — 

"  '  Will  you  deign  to  accept  this  trifle  ?' 

"  '  Not  so,'  replied  his  highness  :  *  however  it  may  be  doubted, 
it  is  nevertheless  true  that  I  prefer  the  cake  to  the  crown,  after 
all.'  And  so,  declining  the  crown,  he  partook  of  our  feast  with 
hilarity  and  condescension." 

There  was  no  pantomime  at  Drury  Lane,  either  in  1801  or 
1802  ;*  nor  was  any  great  novelty  produced  at  Sadler's  Wells  in 

*  Grimaldi  appears  to  have  been  much  circumscribed  in  his  performances  at 
the  Wells  in  18(.  1.  Dubois  was  Clown  in  the  Harlequinades,  and  between  him 
and  Joe,  the  comicalities  of  the  season  appear  to  hare  been  divided ;  the  comic 
songs  being  sung  by  Dubois,  Grimaldi,  and  Davis.  Among  the  extraordinary 
events  of  this  season  was  the  appearance  in  June  of  the  late  distinguished 
tragedian,  Edmund  Kean,  as  "Master  Carey,  the  Pupil  of  Nature,"  who  was 
announced  to  recite  Holla's  celebrated  address  from  the  Tragedy  of  "  Pizarro." 
There  was  something  appropriate  in  his  first  appearance  at  the  Wells :  his  great 
grandfather,  Henry  Carey,  the  illegitimate  son  of  George  Saville,  Marquis  of 
Halifax,  and  the  avowed  author  and  composer  of  the  well-known  ballad  of  "  Sally 
in  our  Alley,"  wrote  and  composed  many  of  the  musical  pieces  for  Sadler's 
Wells.  Though  often  in  great  distress,  and  the  author  of  many  convivial  songs, 
Harry  Carey  never  employed  his  muse  in  opposition  to  the  interests  of  morality. 
Poor  Harry  Carey,  however,  became  at  length  the  victim  of  poverty  and  despair, 
and  hanged  himself  at  his  lodging  in  Warner-street,  Clerkenwell,  October  4, 
1743.  When  found  dead,  he  had  but  one  halfpenny  in  his  pocket.  George 
Saville  Carey  was  his  posthumous  child ;  at  first  a  printer,  he  abandoned  that 
calling  for  the  stage,  but  his  abilities  did  not  ensure  him  success ;  and  he  became 
a  lecturer  and  associate  with  Moses  Kean  in  his  imitations  of  popular  actors, 
•md  Lectures  on  Mimicry.  Carey  had  a  daughter;  and  Mosea  Kean  a  brother. 


the  latter  year.  The  year  1802,  indeed,  seems  to  have  been  pro- 
ductive of  no  melodramatic  wonder  whatever ;  the  most  im- 
portant circumstance  it  brought  to  Grimaldi  being  the  birth  "of 
a  son  on  the  21st  of  November ;  an  event  which  afforded  him 
much  joy  and  happiness. 

But  if  1802  brought  nothing  remarkable  with  it,  its  successor 
did,  for  it  was  ushered  in  with  an  occurrence  of  a  rather  serious 
nature,  the  consequences  of  which  were  not  very  soon  recovered. 
Whether  it  was  ill-fortune  or  want  of  caution,  or  want  of  know- 
ledge of  worldly  matters,  it  did  so  happen  that  whenever 
Grimaldi  succeeded  in  scraping  together  a  little  money,  so 
surely  did  he  lose  it  afterwards  in  some  strange  and  unforeseen 
y-anner.  He  had  at  that  period  been  for  some  time  acquainted 
,/ith  a  very  respected  merchant  of  the  city  of  London,  named 
Charles  Newland  (not  Abraham),  who  was  supposed  to  have  an 
immense  capital  embarked  in  business,  who  lived  in  very  good 
style,  keeping  up  a  great  appearance,  and  who  was  considered 
to  be,  in  sliort,  a  very  rich  man.  He  called  at  Grimaldi's  house 
one  morning  in  February,  and  requesting  a  few  minutes'  pri- 
vate conversation,  said  hastily, 

"  I  dare  say  you  will  be  surprised,  Joe,  when  you  hear  what 
business  I  have  come  upon  ;  hut — but — although  I  am  possessed 
of  a  great  deal  of  wealth,  it  is  all  embarked  in  business,  and  I 
am  at  this  moment  very  short  of  ready  money  ;  so  I  want  you 
to  lend  me  a  few  hundred  pounds,  if  it  is  quite  ^convenient." 
All  this  was  said  with  a  brisk  and  careless  air,  as  if  such  slight 
trifles  as  "a  few  hundred  pounds  "were  scarcely  deserving  of 
being  named. 

Grimaldi  had  never  touched  the  five  hundred  and  odd  pounds 
which  he  had  picked  up  on  Tower-hill,  but  had  added  enough 

Edmund  Kean,  who  made  his  first  appearance  on  the  stage  at  the  Boyalty 
Theatre,  September  9,  1788.  Edmund  Kean  was  the  father  of  the  tragedian  ; 
and  Nancy  Carey  gave  him  birth  at  her  father's  chambers  in  Gray's  Inn.  Hia 
mother  called  herself  "  Mrs."  Carey,  and  played  first  tragedy  woman  at  Eichard- 
son's  Booth  at  Bartholomew  and  other  fairs  :  bills  are  extant  announcing  parts 
played  by  Mrs.  Carey  and  Master  Carey.  Moses  Kean,  the  uncle  of  the  trage- 
dian, was  a  tailor,  with  a  wooden  leg ;  a  convivial  but  in  no  respect  a  dissipated 
character.  He  was  the  original  of  those  who  professed  to  give  imitations  of  the 
leading  players — Kean's  oi  Henderson,  as  Hamlet  in  the  grave  scene,  was  in- 
imitable.  His  death  was  premature  and  singular.  He  lived  at  No.  8,  Upper 
St.  Martin*  s-lane,  near  the  Horse  Eepository,  and  was  an  admirer  of  fine  scenery 
— the  changes  in  the  clouds,  and  the  majestic  splendour  of  the  heavens.  One 
evening,  he  ascended  to  the  roof  of  his  residence,  to  enjoy  an  uninterrupted 
view  ot  the  setting  sun,  when  rapt  by  the  object  before  him  and  intent  on  the 
view,  he  lost  his  hold,  fell  into  the  street,  and  was  killed.  The  tragedian's 
grandfather,  George  Saville  Carey,  like  his  father,  died  in  great  distress,  July 
14,  1807.  After  that  period,  Master  Carey  adopted  his  father's  name,  Edmund 
Kean,  and  subsequently  ennobled  the  British  stage  by  his  transcendaut  personi- 
fications of  Othello,  Sir  Giles  Overreach,  Eichard  III.,  and  other  characters— 
a  meteor  of  no  prolonged  duration,  but  the  eifulgence  of  which  will  be  long 


to  make  six  hundred  in  all.  This  sum  he  hastened  to  place 
before  his  friend,  assuring  him,  with  great  sincerity,  that  if  he 
had  possessed  double  or  treble  the  amount,  he  would  have  been 
\tappy  to  have  lent  it  him  with  the  greatest  readiness.  The 
merchant  expressed  the  gratification  he  derived  from  his  friend- 
ship, and  giving  him  a  bill  for  the  money  at  three  months'  date, 
shook  his  hand  warmly,  and  left  him. 

The  bill  was  dishonoured ;  the  merchant  became  bankrupt, 
left  England  for  America,  and  died  upon  the  passage  out.  And 
thus  the  contents  of  the  net  purse  and  the  bundle  of  notes  were 
lost  as  easily  as  they  were  gained,  with  the  addition  of  some 




Containing  a  very  extraordinary  incident  well  worthy  of  the  reader's 

ONE  evening  in  the  second  week  of  November,  1803,*  Grimaldi 
then  playing  at  Drury  Lane,  had  been  called  by  the  prompter, 
and  was  passing  from  the  green-room  to  the  stage,  when  a 
messenger  informed  him  that  two  gentlemen  were  waiting  to  see 
him  at  the  stage-door.  Afraid  of  keeping  the  stage  waiting,  he 
enjoined  the  messenger  to  tell  the  gentlemen  that  he  was 
engaged  at  that  moment,  but  that  he  would  come  down  to  them 
directly  he  left  the  stage.  The  play  was  "A  Bold  Stroke  for  a 
Wife  :"  Miss  Mellon  was  Anne ;  Bannister,  Feignwell ;  Aitkin, 
Simon  Pure  ;  and  Grimaldi,  Aminadab. 
As  soon  as  he  could  get  away  from  the  stage,  he  hurried  down 

*  Sadler's  Wells  opened  on  Easter  Monday,  April  llth,  1803,  under  a  change 
of  proprietors.  Mr.  Hughes  retained  his  fourth;  Thomas  and  Charles  Dibdm 
had  purchased  Mi.  Siddons'  fourth  for  1400Z;  Barford  and  Yarnold  had  bought 
the  fourth  previously  held  by  Mr.  Thos.  Arnold,  of  the  First  Fruits  Office ; 
Mr.  Keeve  purchased  the  eighth,  hitherto  the  property  of  Mr.  Wroughton  ;  and 
Mr.  Andrews  the  eighth  previously  held  by  Mr.  Coates.  The  season  is  memor- 
able for  the  appearance  on  that  stage  of  the  celebrated  traveller,  Signor 
Giambattista  Belzoni,  as  the  Patagoman  Samson,  in  which  character  he  per- 
formed prodigious  feats  of  strength;  one  of  which  was  to  adjust  an  iron  frame 
to  his  body,  weighing  127  Ibs.,  on  which  he  carried  eleven  persons.  On  his 
benefit  night  he  attempted  to  carry  thirteen,  but  as  that  number  could  not  hold 
on,  it  was  abandoned.  His  stature,  as  registered  in  the  books  of  the  Alien. 
Office,  was  six  feet  six  inches. 

Poor  TomEllai,  in  his  Manuscripts,  notices— "  The  first  time  I  met  Signor 
Belzoni,  was  at  the  Eoyalty  Theatre,  on  Easter  Monday,  1808,  my  first  appear- 
ance in  London ;  the  theatre  closed  after  the  fourth  week.  In  September  of  the 
same  year,  I  again  met  him  at  Saunders's  booth  in  Bartholomew  Fair,  exhibiting 
as  the  French  Hercules.  In  1809,  we  were  jointly  engaged  in  the  production  of 

Pantomime,  at  the  Crow  Street  Theatre,  Dublin  ;  I  as  Harlequin,  and  he  as 
an  artist  to  superintend  the  last  scene,  a  sort  of  Hydraulic  Temple,  which,  owing 
to  what  is  very  frequently  the  case,  the  being  over-anxious,  failed  and  nearly 
inundated  the  orchestra.  Fiddlers  generally  follow  their  leader,  and  Tom  Cooke 
was  then  the  man ;  seeing  the  water,  off  he  bolted,  and  they  to  a  man  followed 
him,  leaving  me,  Columbine,  and  the  other  characters,  to  finish  the  scene,  in  the 
midst  of  a  splendid  shower  of  fire  and  water.  Signor  Belzoni  was  a  man  of 
gentlemanly  but  very  assuming  manners  ;  yet  of  great  mind."  Such  was  Tom 
Ellar's  opinion  of  that  memorable  man,  whose  celeority  afterwards  as  a  traveller 
requires  no  record  in  this  place. 


stairs,  and  inquiring1  who  wanted  him,  was  introduced  to  two 
strangers,  who  were  patiently  awaiting  his  arrival.  They  were 
young  men  of  gentlemanly  appearance,  and  upon  hearing  the 
words,  "Here's  Mr.  Grimaldi — who  wants  him?"  one  of  them 
turned  hastily  round,  and  warmly  accosted  him. 

He  looked  about  his  own  age,  and  had  evidently  been  accus- 
tomed to  a  much  warmer  climate  than  that  of  England.  He 
wore  the  fashionable  evening- dress  of  the  day— that  is  to  saj,  a 
blue  body-coat  with  gilt  buttons,  a  white  waistcoat,  and  tight 
pantaloons — and  carried  in  his  hand  a  small  gold-headed 

"  Joe,  my  lad !"  exclaimed  this  person,  holding  out  his  hand, 
in  some  agitation,  "  how  goes  it  with  you  now,  old  fellow  r" 

He  was  not  a  little  surprised  at  this  familiar  address  from  a 
person  whom  he  was  not  conscious  of  ever  having  seen  in  his 
life,  and,  after  a  moment's  pause,  replied  that  he  really  had  not 
the  pleasure  of  the  stranger's  acquaintance. 

"Not  the  pleasure  of  my  acquaintance!"  repeated  the 
stranger,  with  a  loud  laugh.  "  Well,  Joe,  that  seems  funny, 
anyhow !"  He  appealed  to  his  companion,  who  concurred  in  tne 
opinion,  and  they  both  laughed  heartily.  This  was  all  very 
funny  to  the  strangers,  but  not  at  all  so  to  Grimaldi  :  he  had  a 
vague  idea  that  they  were  rather  laughing  at  than  with  him, 
and  as  much  offended  as  surprised,  was  turning  away,  when  the 
person  who  had  spoken  first  said,  in  rather  a  tremulous  voice, 

"  Joe,  don't  you  know  me  now  ?" 

He  turned,  and  gazed  at  him  again.  He  had  opened  his 
shirt,  and  was  pointing  to  a  scar  upon  his  breast,  the  sight  of 
which  at  once  assured  him^that  it  was  no  other  than  his  brother 
who  stood  before  him, — his  only  brother,  who  had  disappeared 
under  the  circumstances  narrated  in  an  earlier  part  of  these 

Thev  were  naturally  much  affected  by  this  meeting,  especially 
the  elder  brother,  who  had  been  so  suddenly  summoned  into  the 
presence  of  the  near  relative  whom  long  ago  he  had  given  up 
tor  lost.  They  embraced  again  and  again,  and  gave  vent  to 
their  feelings  in  tears. 

"  Come  up  stairs,"  said  Grimaldi,  as  soon  as  the  first  surprise 
was  over;  "Mr.  Wroughton  is  there — Mr.  Wroughton,  who 
was  the  means  of  your  going  to  sea, — he'll  be  delighted  to  see1 
you."  The  brothers  were  hurrying  away,  when  the  friend^ 
whose  presence  they  had  quite  forgotten  in  their  emotion,  said, 

"  Well,  John,  then  I'll  wish  you  good  night !" 

"Good  night!  good  night!"  said  the  other,  shaking  his 
hand ;  "I  shall  see  you  in  the  morning." 

"  Yes,"  replied  the  friend  ;  "  at  ten,  mind  !" 

*'  At  ten  precisely :  I  shall  not  forget,"  answered  John. 

The  Mend,  to  whom  he  had  not  introduced  his  brother  in  any 


way,  departed ;  >  and  they  went  upon  the  stage  together, 
where  Grimaldi  introduced  his  brother  to  Powell,  Bannister, 
Wroughton,  and  many  others  in  the  green-room,  who,  attracted 
by  the  singularity  of  his  return  under  such  circumstances,  had 
collected  round  tnem. 

Having  his  stage  business  to  attend  to,  he  had  very  little 
time  for  conversation ;  but  of  course  he  availed  himself  of  every 
moment  that  he  could  spare  off  the  stage,  and  in  answer  to  his 
inquiries,  his  brother  assured  him  that  his  trip  had  been 
eminently  successful. 

"At  this  moment,"  he  said,  slapping  his  breast-pocket,  "I 
have  six  hundred  pounds  here." 

"  Why,  John,"  said  his  brother,  "it's  very  dangerous  to  carry 
so  much  money  about  with  you !" 

"Dangerous!"  replied  John,  smiling;  "we  sailors  know 
nothing  about  danger.  But,  my  lad,  even  if  all  this  wer« 
gone,  I  should  not  be  penniless."  And  he  gave  a  knowing  wink, 
which  induced  his  brother  to  believe  that  he  had  indeed  "  made 
a  good  trip  of  it." 

At  this  moment  Grimaldi  was  again  called  upon  the  stage ; 
and  Mr.  Wroughton,  taking  that  opportunity  of  talking  to  his 
brother,  made  many  kind  inquiries  of  him  relative  to  his  success 
and  the  state  of  his  finances.  In  reply  to  these  questions  he 
made  in  effect  the  same  statements  as  he  had  already  communi- 
cated to  Joseph,  and  exhibited  as  evidence  of  the  truth  of  his 
declarations  a  coarse  canvas  bag,  stuffed  full  of  various  coins, 
which  he  carefully  replaced  in  his  pocket  again. 

As  soon  as  the  comedy  was  ended,  Grimaldi  joined  him;  and 
Mr.  Wroughton,  haying  congratulated  his  brother  on  his  return, 
and  the  fortunate  issue  of  his  adventures,  bade  them  good 
night ;  when  Grimaldi  took  occasion  to  ask  how  long  the  sailor 
had  been  in  town. 

He  replied,  two  or  three  hours  back;  that  he  had  merely 
tarried  to  get  some  diiiner,  and  had  come  straight  to  the 
theatre.  In  answer  to  inquiries  relative  to  what  he  intended 
doing,  he  said  he  had  not  bestowed  a  thought  upon  the  matter, 
and  that  the  only  topic  which  had  occupied  his  mind  was  his 
anxiety  to  see  his  mother  and  brother.  A  long  and  affectionate 
conversation  ensued,  in  the  course  of  which  it  was  proposed  by 
Joseph,  that  as  his  mother  lived  with  himself  and  wife,  and 
they  had  a  larger  house  than  they  required,  the  brother  should 
join  them,  and  they  should  all  live  together.  To  this  the 
brother  most  gladly  and  joyfully  assented,  and  adding  that  h« 
must  see  his  mother  that  night,  or  his  anxiety  would  not  suffe* 
him  to  sleep,  asked  where  she  lived. 

Grimaldi  gave  him  the  address  directly ;  but,  as  he  did  not 
play  in  the  afterpiece,  said,  that  he  had  done  for  the  night,  and 
that  if  he  would  wait  while  he  changed  his  dress,  he  would  go 

u  2 


with  him.  His  brother  was,  of  course,  glad  to  hear  there  was 
no  necessity  for  them  to  separate,  and  Grimaldi  hurried  away  to 
his  dressing-room,  leaving  him  on  the  stage. 

The  agitation  of  his  feelings,  the  suddenness  of  his  brother's 
return,  the  good  fortune  which  had  attended  him  in  his  absence, 
the  gentility  of  his  appearance,  and  his  possession  of  so  much 
money,  all  together  confused  him  so,  that  he  could  scarcely  use 
his  hands.  He  stood  still  every  now  and  then  quite  lost  in 
wonder,  and  then  suddenly  recollecting  that  his  brother  was 
waiting,  looked  over  the  room  again  and  again  for  articles  of 
dress  that  were  lying  before  him.  At  length,  after  having 
occupied  a  much  longer  time  than  usual  in  changing  his  dress, 
he  was  ready,  and  ran  down  to  the  stage.  On  his  way  he  met 
Powell,  who  heartily  congratulated  him  on  the  return  of  his 
relative,  making  about  the  thirtieth  who  had  been  kind  enough 
to  do  so  already.  _  Grimaldi  asked  him,  more  from  nervousness 
than  for  information,  if  he  had  seen  him  lately. 

"  Not  a  minute  ago,"  was  the  reply ;  "  he  is  waiting  for  you 
upon  the  stage.  I  wont  detain  you,  for  he  complains  that  you 
have  been  longer  away  now,  than  you  said  you  would  be." 

Grimaldi  hurried  down  stairs  to  the  spot  where  he  had  left 
his  brother.  He  was  not  there. 

"Who  are  you  looking  for,  Joe?"  inquired  Bannister,  as  he 
saw  him  looking  eagerly  about. 

"  For  my  brother,"  he  answered.  "  I  left  him  here  a  little 
while  back." 

"  Well,  and  I  saw  and  spoke  to  him  not  a  minute  ago,"  said 
Bannister.  "When  he  left  me,  he  went  in  that  direction 
(pointing  towards  the  passage  that  led  towards  the  stage-door) . 
1  should  think  he  had  left  the  theatre." 

Grimaldi  ran  to  the  stage-door,  and  asked  the  porter  if  his 
brother  had  passed.  The  man  said  he  had,  not  a  minute  back ; 
he  could  not  have  got  out  of  the  street  by  that  time. 

He  ran  out  at  the  door,  and  then  up  and  down  the  street 
several  times,  but  saw  nothing  of  him.  Where  could  he  be 
gone  to  ?  Possibly,  finding  him  longer  gone  than  he  had  anti- 
cipated, he  might  have  stepped  out  to  call  upon  one  of  his  old 
friends  close  by,  whom  he  had  not  seen  for  so  many  years,  with 
the  intention  of  returning  to  the  theatre.  This  was  not  un- 
likely ;  for  in  the  immediate  neighbourhood  there  lived  a  Mr. 
Bowley,  who  had  been  his  bosom  friend  when  they  were  boys. 
The  idea  no  sooner  struck  Grimaldi  than  he  ran  to  the  house 
and  knocked  hastily  at  the  door.  The  man  himself  answered 
the  knock,  and  was  evidently  greatly  surprised. 

"  I  have  indeed  seen  your  brother,"  he  said,  in  reply  to  Gri- 
maldi's  question.  "  Good  God !  I  was  never  so  amazed  in  all 
my  life." 

'  Is  he  here  now  r"  was  the  anxious  inquiry. 


"  No ;  but  he  lias  not  been  gone  a  minute ;  lie  cannot  have 
gone  many  yards." 

"  Which  way  ?" 

"  That  way, — towards  Duke-street." 

"  He  must  have  gone,"  thought  Grrimaldi,  "  to  call  on  Mr. 
Bailey,  our  old  landlord."  He  hurried  away  to  the  house  in 
Great  Wild-street,  and  knocked  long  and  loudly  at  the  door. 
The  people  were  asleep.  He  knocked  again  and  rang  violently, 
being  in  a  state  of  great  excitement ;  at  length  a  servant- girl 
thrust  her  head  out  of  an  upper  window,  and  said,  both  sulkily 
and  sleepily, — 

"  I  tell  you  again,  he  is  not  at  home." 

"  What  are  you  talking  about  ?    Who  is  not  at  home  ?" 

"Why,  Mr.  Bailey:  I  told  you  so  before.  What  do  you 
keep  on  knocking  for,  at  this  time  of  night  ?" 

He  could  not  understand  a  word  of  all  this,  but  hurriedly 
told  his  name,  and  requested  the  girl  to  come  down  directly,  for 
he  wished  to  speak  to  her.  The  head  was  directly  withdrawn, 
the  window  closed,  and  in  a  minute  or  two  afterwards  the  girl 
appeared  at  the  street  door. 

"  I'm  sure  I  beg  your  pardon,  sir,"  she  said,  after  pouring 
forth  a  volume  of  apologies.  "  But  there  was  a  gentleman  here 
knocking  and  ringing  very  violently  not  a  minute  before  you 
came.  I  told  him  Mr.  Bailey  was  not  at  home ;  and  when  I 
heard  you  at  the  door,  I  thought  it  was  him,  and  that  he  would 
not  go  away." 

Grimaldi  was  breathless  with  the  speed  he  had  made,  and 
trembling  with  vague  apprehensions  of  ne  knew  not  what.  He 
asked  if  she  had  seen  the  gentleman's  face.  The  girl,  surprised 
at  his  emotion,  replied  that  she  had  not ;  she  had  only  answered 
him  from  the  window,  being  afraid  to  open  the  door  to  a 
stranger  so  long  after  dark,  when  all  the  family  were  out.  The 
only  thing  she  had  noticed  was  that  he  had  got  a  white  waist- 
coat on ;  for  she  had  thought  at  the  time,  seeing  him  dressed, 
that  perhaps  he  might  have  called  to  take  her  master  to  a  party. 

He  must  have  gone  back  to  the  theatre. 

He  left  the  surprised  girl  standing  at  the  door,  and  ran  to 
Drury  Lane.  Here,  again,  he  was  disappointed;  he  had  not 
been  seen.  He  ran  from  place  to  place,  and  from  house  to 
house,  wherever  he  thought  it  possible  his  brother  could  have 
called,  but  nobody  had  heard  of  or  seen  him.  Many  of  the  per- 
sons to  whom  he  appealed  openly  expressed  their  doubts^  to  each 
other  of  his  sanity  of  mina ;  which  were  really  not  without  a 
shadow  of  probability,  seeing  that  he  knocked  them  out  of  their 
beds,  and,  with  every  appearance  of  agitation  and  wildness, 
demanded  if  they  had  seen  his  brother,  whom  nobody  had 
heard  of  for  fourteen  years,  and  whom  most  of  them  considered 


It  was  so  late  now,  that  the  theatre  was  just  shutting  up  ; 
but  he  ran  back  once  more,  and  again  inquired  if  his  brother  had 
been  there.  Hearing  he  had  not,  he  concluded  that,  recollecting 
the  address  he  had  mentioned,  he  had  gone  straight  to  his 
mother's  home.  This  seemed  probable ;  and  yet  he  felt  a  degree 
of  dismay  and  alarm  which  he  had  never  before  experienced, 
even  when  there  were  good  grounds  for  such  feelings. 

The  more  he  thought  of  this,  however,  the  more  probable  it 
seemed,  and  he  blamed  himself  as  he  walked  quickly  homewards 
for  not  having  thought  of  it  sooner.  He  remembered  the 
anxiety  his  brother  had  expressed  to  see  their  mother,  the  plan 
they  had  discussed  for  their  all  living  together,  and  the  many 
little  schemes  of  future  happiness  which  they  had  talked  over  in 
their  hurried  interview,  and  in  all  of  which  she  was  comprised. 
He  reached  home,  and,  composing  himself  as  well  as  he  could, 
entered  the  little  room  in  which  they  usually  supped  after  the 
play.  His  brother  was  not  there,  but  his  mother  was,  and,  as 
she  looked  much  paler  than  usual,  he  thought  she  had  seen, 

"  Well,  mother,"  he  said,  "  has  anything  strange  occurred 
here  to-night?" 

"  No ;  nothing  that  I  have  heard  of." 

"What!  no  stranger  arrived! — no  long-lost  relative  re- 
covered!" exclaimed  Grimaldi,  all  his  former  apprehensions 

"  What  do  you  mean  r" 

"Mean!  Why,  that  John  is  come  home  safe  and  well,  and 
with  money  enough  to  make  all  our  fortunes." 

His  mother  screamed  wildly  at  this  intelligence  and  fainted ; 
she  recovered  after  a  time,  and  Grimaldi  recounted  to  her  and 
his  wife  the  events  of  the  evenin/;,  precisely  as  they  are  here 

They  were  greatly  amazed  at  the  recital.  The  mother  held 
that  he  would  be  sure  to  come  before  the  night  was  over;  that 
he  had  probably  met  with  some  of  his  old  friends,  and  would  be 
there  after  he  had  left  them.  _She  insisted  that  Grimaldi,  who 
was  tired,  should  go  to  bed,  while  she  sat  up  and  waited  for  her 
son.  He  did  so,  and  the  mother  remained  all  through  the  long 
night  anxiously  expecting  his  arrival. 

This  may  appear  a  long  story,  but  its  conclusion  invests  it 
with  a  degree  of  interest  which  warrants  the  detail.  The 
Cunning  away  to  sea  of  a  young  man,  and  his  return  after  a 
japse  of  years,  is,  and  ever  has  been,  no  novelty  in  this  island. 
This  is  not  the  burden  of  the  tale.  It  possessed  an  awful  interest 
to  those  whom  it  immediately  concerned,  and  cannot  fail  to  have 
some  for  the  most  indifferent  reader. 

Prom  that  night  in  November,  1803,  to  this  month  of  January, 
1838,  the  missing  man  was  never  seen  again  ;  nor  was  anyintel- 


ligence,  or  any  clue  of  the  faintest  or  most  remote  description, 
ever  obtained  by  bis  friends  respecting  him. 

Next  morning,  and  many  mornings  afterwards,  the  mother 
still  anxiously  and  hopelessly  expected  the  arrival  of  her  son. 
Again  and  again  did  she  question  Grimaldi  about  him— his  ap- 
pearance, his  manner,  what  he  said,  and  all  the  details  of  his 
disappearance  ;  again  and  again  was  every  minute  fact  recalled, 
and  every  possible  conjecture  hazarded  relative  to  his  fate.  He 
could  scarcely  persuade  himself  but  that  the  events  of  the  pre- 
ceding night  were  a  delusion  of  his  brain,  until  the  inquiries 
after  his  brother,  which  were  made  by  those  who  had  seen  him 
on  the  previous  night,  placed  them  beyond  all  doubt.  He  com- 
municated to  his  friends  the  strange  history  of  the  last  few 
hours,  with  all  the  circumstances  of  his  brother's  sudden  appear- 
ance, and  of  his  equally  sudden  disappearance.  He  was  ad- 
vised to  wait  a  little  while  before  he  made  the  circumstance 
public,  in  the  hope  that  he  might  have  been  induced  to  spend 
the  night  with  some  shipmates,  and  might  speedily  return. 

But  a  week  passed  away,  and  then  further  silence  would  have 
been  criminal,  and  he  proceeded  to  set  on  foot  every  inquiry 
which  his  own  mind  could  suggest,  or  the  kindness  of  his  friends 
prompted  them  to  advise.  A  powerful  nobleman  who  at  that 
time  used  to  frequent  Drury  Lane  Theatre,  and  wrho  had  on, 
many  occasions  expressed  his  favourable  opinion  of  Grimaldi, 
interested  himself  greatly  in  the  matter,  and  set  on  foot  a  series 
of  inquiries  at  the  Admiralty :  every  source  of  information 
possessed  by  that  establishment  that  was  deemed  at  all  likely 
to  throw  any  light  upon  the  subject  was  resorted  to,  but  in  vain ; 
the  newspapers  were  searched  to  ascertain  what  ships  had 
arrived  in  the  river  or  upon  the  coast  that  day — whence  they 
came,  what  crews  they  carried,  what  passengers  they  had ;  the 
police-officers  were  paid  to  search  all  London  through,  and  en- 
deavour to  gain  some  information,  if  it  were  only  of  the  lost 
man's  death.  Everything  was  tried  by  the  family,  and  by  many 
very  powerful  friends  whom  the  distressing  nature  of  the 
inquiry  raised  up  about  them,  to  trace  the  object  of  their  regret 
and  labour,  but  all  in  vain.  The  sailor  was  seen  no  more. 

Various  surmises  were  afloat  at  the  time  regarding  the  real 
nature  of  this  mysterious  transaction ;  many  of  them,  of  course, 
were  absurd  enough,  but  the  two  most  probable  conjectures 
appear  to  have  been  hazarded  many  years  afterwards,  and  when 
all  chance  of  the  man  being  alive  were  apparently  at  an  end, — 
the  one  by  the  noble  lord  who  had  pursued  the  investigation  at 
the  Admiralty,  and  the  other  by  a  shrewd  long-headed  police- 
officer,  who  had  been  employed  to  set  various  inquiries  on  foot 
JT-  the  neighbourhoood  of  the  theatre. 

The  former  suggested  that  a  press-gang,  to  whom  the  person 
of  the  brother  was  known,  might  possibly  have  pounced  upon 


him  in  some  by-street,  and  have  carried  him  off;  in  which  case, 
as  he  had  previously  assumed  a  false  name,  the  fact  of  his  friends 
receiving  no  intelligence  of  him  was  easily  accounted  for ;  while, 
as  nothing  could  be  more  probable  than  that  he  was  slain  in  one 
of  the  naval  engagements  so  rife  about  that  time,  his  never 
appearing  again  was  easily  explained.  This  solution  of  the 
mystery,  however,  was  by  no  means  satisfactory  to  his  friends, 
as  it  was  liable  to  many  very  obvious  doubts  and  objections, 
Upon  the  whole,  they  felt  inclined  to  give  far  more  credence  to 
the  still  more  tragical,  but,  it  is  to  be  feared,  more  probable 
explanation  which  the  experience  of  the  police-officer  sug- 

This  man  was  of  opinion  that  the  unfortunate  subject  of  their 
doubts  had  been  lured  into  some  low  infamous  den,  by  persons 
who  had  either  previously  known  ^r  suspected  that  he  had  a 
large  sum  of  money  in  his  possession ;  that  here  he  was  plun- 
dered, and  afterwards  either  murdered  in  cold  blood,  or  slain  in 
some  desperate  struggle  to  recover  his  gold.  This  conjecture 
was  encouraged  by  but  too  many  corroboratory  circumstances : 
the  sailor  was  of  a  temper  easily  persuaded :  he  had  all  the 
recklessness  and  hardihood  of  a  seafaring  man,  only  increased 
by  the  possession  of  prize-money  and  the  release  from  hard 
work :  he  had  money,  and  a  very  large  sum  of  money,  about 
him,  the  greater  part  in  specie,  and  not  in  notes,  or  any  security 
which  it  would  be  difficult  or  dangerous  to  exchange :  all  this 
was  known  to  his  brother  and  to  Mr.  Wroughton,  both  eye- 
witnesses of  the  fact. 

One  other  circumstance  deserves  a  word.  It  was,  both  at  the 
time  and  for  a  long  period  afterwards,  a  source  of  bitter,  although 
of  most  groundless  self-reproach  to  Grrimaldi,  that  he  could  not 
sufficiently  recollect  the  appearance  of  the  man  who  accompanied 
his  brother  to  the  stage- door  of  the  theatre,  to  describe  his  per- 
son. If  he  could  have  been  traced  out,  some  intelligence  re- 
specting the>  poor  fellow  might  perhaps  have  been  discovered ; 
but  Grrimaldi  was  so  much  moved  by  the  unexpected  recognition 
of  his  brother,  that  he  scarcely  bestowed  a  thought  or  a  look 
upon  his  companion :  nor,  after  taxing  his  memory  for  many 
years,  could  he  ever  recollect  more  than  that  he  was  dressed  in 
precisely  the  same  attire  as  his  brother,  even  down  to  the  white 
waistcoat ;  a  circumstance  which  had  not  only  been  noticed  by 
himself,  but  was  well  remembered  by  the  door-keeper,  and 
others  who  had  passed  in  and  out  of  the  theatre  during  the 
time  the  two  young  men  were  standing  in  the  lobby. 

Recollecting  the  intimate  terms  upon  which  the  two  appeared 
to  be,  and  the  appointment  which  was  made  between  them  for 
the  following  morning,  "  at  ten  precisely,"  there  is  little  reason 
to  doubt  that  if  the  sailor  had  disappeared  without  the  know- 
ledge or  privity  of  his  companion,  the  latter  would  infallibly 


have  applied  to  Grimaldi  to  know  where  his  brother  was. 
Coupling  the  fact  of  his  never  doing  so,  and  never  being  seen 
or  heard  of  again,  with  the  circumstance  of  the  lost  man  never 
Having  evinced  the  least  inclination  to  take  him  home  with  him, 
to  retain  him  when  he  was  in  his  brother's  company,  or  even  to 
introduce  him  in  the  slightest  manner,  (from  all  of  which  it 
would  seem  that  he  was  some  bad  or  doubtful  character,)  the 
family  arrived  at  the  conclusion, — if  it  hould  ever  be  an  unjust 
one,  it  will  be  forgiven, — that  this  man  was  cognizant  of,  if 
indeed  he  was  not  chiefly  instrumental  a  bringing  about,  the 
untimely  fate  of  the  murdered  man,  for  uch  they  always  sup- 
posed him.  Whether  they  were  right  or  wrong  in  this  con- 
clusion will  probably  ever  remain  unknown. 



1803  to  1805. 

Bologna  and  his  Family — An  Excursion  into  Kent  with  that  personage — Mr. 
Mackintosh,  the  gentleman  of  landed  property,  and  his  preserves — A  great 
day's  sporting;  and  a,  scene  at  the  Garrick's  Head  in  Bow-street  between  a 
Landlord,  a  Gamekeeper,  Bologna,  and  Grimaldi. 

SIGNOB,  BOLOGNA,  better  known  to  Ms  intimates  by  the  less 
euphonious  title  of  Jack  Bologna,  was  a  countryman  of  Grrimaldi's 
father,  having  been,  like  him,  born  at  Genoa ;  he  had  been  well 
acquainted  with  hirn^  indeed,  previously  to  his  coming  to 
England.  He  arrived  in  this  country,  with  Ids  wife,  two  sons, 
and  a  daughter,  in  1787.*  The  signor  was  a  posture-master, 
and  his  wife  a  slack- wire  dancer ;  John  his  eldest  son  (after- 
wards the  well-known  harlequin),  Louis  his  second  son,  and 
Barbara  the  youngest  child,  were  all  dancers.  They  were  first 
engaged  at  Sadler's  Wells,  and  here  an  intimacy  commenced 
between  Bologna  and  Grimaldi,  which  lasted  during  the  re- 
mainder of  their  lives  ;  they  were  children  when  it  commenced, 

*  Pietro  Bologna  made  his  first  appearance  at  Sadler's  Wells  on  Easter 
Monday,  April,  1786,  when  the  bill  announced — "  New  Comic  and  Entertaining 
Performances  on  the  Slack  Wire,  by  Signor  Pietro  Bologna ;  being  his  first 
appearance  in  this  kingdom.  Kope-dancing  by  the  Little  Devil,  Mr.  Casamire, 
and  Madame  La  Eomaine,  being  also  her  first  appearance  in  this  kingdom. 
Clown  to  the  Eope,  by  Signor  Pietro  Bologna."  Miss  Eomanzini,  afterwards 
the  distinguished  ballad  vocalist,  Mrs.  Bland,  appeared  also  on  the  same  evening. 
On  July  13,  1789,  the  bills  announced  performances  on  the  Tight  Eope  by  the 
Little  Devil,  Master  Bologna,  and  La  Belle  Espagnole.  This  was  the  first  public 
appearance  of  John  Peter  Bologna,  professionally  distinguished  by  the  appella- 
tion of  "  Jack  Bologna." 

In  April,  1792,  the  performances  on  the  opening  of  Sadler's  Wells  were  par- 
ticularized by  "  Extraordinary  Exhibitions  of  Postures  and  Feats  of  Strength  by 
Signor  Bologna  and  his  Children;"  these  were  his  sons,  John  and  Louis. 
Bologna  and  his  family  left  the  Wells  at  the  close  of  the  season,  1794 ;  and  at 
Easter,  1795,  the  whole  were  employed  at  Jones's  Eoyal  Circus.  In  the  Pan- 
tomime of  "  The  Magic  Feast,"  in  September,  Signor  Bologna  played  Pantaloon  j 
his  son,  John,  afterwards  distinguished  in  the  bills  as  Mr.  Bologna,  jun.,  played 
Harlequin ;  and  the  Signer's  wiie,  Mrs.  Bologna,  a  fishwoman. 

Jack  Bologna  returned  to  Sadler's  Wells,  after  an  absence  of  eight  years,  on 
Easter  Monday,  April  19,  1802.  He  played  Satani,  in  "  The  Great  Devil ;  or, 
The  Eobber  of  Genoa  ;"  and  for  some  years  was  Harlequin  to  Joe's  Clown,  both 
at  Covent  Garden  Theatre  and  Sadler's  Wells,  with  what  reputation  thousands 
even  now  can  attest.  Subsequently  Joe  and  he  became  allied  :  Bologna  having 
married  Louisa  Maria  Bristow,  sister  of  Grimaldi's  second  wife,  Mary  Bristow. 


playing  about  the  street  in  the  morning-,  and  at  the  theatre  at 

The  signer  and  his  family  remained  at  Sadler's  Wells  until 
1793,  when  Mr.  Harris  engaged  him  and  his  children  (his  wife 
had  died  hefore  this  time)  at  Covent  Garden,  where  they  re- 
mained for  several  years  ;  Bologna  playing  during  the  summer 
months  at  the  Surrey  Circus,  as  Grimaldi  used  to  act  at  Sadler's 
Wells.  In  1801  he  left  Covent  Garden,  and  in  1803  the  Circus  ; 
upon  the  conclusion  of  the  latter  engagement,  he  was  immedi- 
ately secured  for  the  ensuing  seas9n  at  Sadler's  Wells,  Avhere  he 
reappeared  on  Easter  Monday  in  1804.  During  the  many 
years  which  had  passed  away  since  he  closed  his  first  engagement 
at  Sadler's  Wells,  he  and  Grimaldi  had  been  necessarily  pre- 
vented by  their  different  occupations  from  seeing  much  of  each 
other ;  but  being  now  once  more  engaged  at  the  same  theatre, 
their  old  intimacy  was  renewed.  Their  wives  becoming  at- 
tached to  each  other,  and  their  engagements  being  pretty  much 
the  same,  they  were  constantly  at  each  other's  houses,  or  in  each 
other's  society.  They  met  with  a  droll  adventure  in  company, 
which  may  as  well  be  related  in  this  place. 

Drury  Lane  closed  in  June  and  reopened  on  the  4th  of  Oc- 
tober ;  but,  as  usual,  Grimaldi' s  services  were  not  required  until 
Christmas.  He  had  been  in  great  request  at  Sadler's  Wells ; 
for  the  season  was  one  of  the  heaviest  the  performers  had  ever 
known.  The<  two  friends  were  speaking  of  this  one  evening, 
and  complaining  of  their  great  fatigue,  when  Bologna  recalled 
to  mind  that  he  had  a  friend  residing  in  Kent  who  had  repeatedly 
invited  him  down  to  his  house  for  a  few  days'  shooting,  and  to 
take  a  Mend  with  him;  he  proposed,  therefore,  that  he  and 
Grimaldi  should  go  down  by  way  of  relaxation.  On  the  6th  of 
November,  accordingly,  the  friend  having  been  previously  ap- 
prized of  their  intention,  and  having  again  returned  a  most 
pressing  invitation,  they  left  town  in  a  gig  hired  for  the  pur- 

On  the  road,  Bologna  told  his  friend  that  the  gentleman  whom, 
they  were  going  down  to  visit  was  an  individual  of  the  name  of 
Mackintosh ;  that  he  was  understood  to  be  wholly  unconnected 
with  any  business  or  profession,  that  he  was  a  large  landed  pro- 
prietor, and  that  he  had  most  splendid  preserves.  The  intel- 
ligence pleased  Grimaldi  ver^f  much,  as  he  looked  forward  to  a 
very  stylish  visit,  and  felt  quite  elated  with  the  idea  of  culti- 
vating the  acquaintance  of  so  great  a  man. 

"  I  have  _never  seen  his  place  myself,"  said  Bologna ;  "  but 
when  he  is  in  London,  he  is  always  about  the  theatres,  and  he 
has  often  asked  me  to  come  down  and  have  some  shooting." 

They  were  talking  thus,  when  they  arrived  at  Bromley, 
which  was  about  two  miles  and  a  half  from  the  place  to  which 
they  were  bound.  Here  they  met  a  man  in  a  fustian  jacket, 
driving  a  tax-cart,  drawn  by  a  very  lame  little  horse,  who 


suddenly  pulled  up,  hailed  the  party  with  a  loud  "  Hallo ! "  and 
a  "  Well,  Joe,  here  you  are  ! " 

Grimaldi  was  rather  surprised  at  this  intimate  salutation  from 
a  stranger ;  and  he  was  a  little  more  so  when  Bologna,  after 
shaking  hands  very  heartily  with  the  man  in  fustian,  intro- 
duced him  as  the  identical  Mr.  Mackintosh  whom  they  were 
going  down  to  visit. 

"  I'm  glad  to  see  you,  Joe,"  said  Mr.  Mackintosh  with  an  air 
of  patronage.  "  I  thought  I'd  meet  you  here  and  show  you  the 

Grimaldi  made  some  suitable  acknowledgments  for  this  po- 
liteness, and  the  tax-cart  and  the  gig  went  on  together. 

"  I  am  sorry  you  have  hit  upon  a  bad  day  for  coming  down 
here,  so  far  as  the  shooting  goes,"  said  Mackintosh,  "for  to- 
morrow is  a  general  fast.  At  any  rate  you  can  walk  about  and 
look  at  the  country ;  and  the  next  day — the  next  day — wont  we 
astonish  the  natives !" 

"Are  there  plenty  of  birds  this  year?"  inquired  Bologna. 

"Lots— lots,"  replied  the  other  man,  whose  manner  and 
appearance  scarce  bore  out  Grimaldi's  _  preconceived  notion  of 
the  gentleman  they  were  going  to  visit.  If  he  were  already 
surprised,  however,  he  had  much  greater  cause  to  be  so  even- 

After  travelling  upwards  of  two  miles,  Bologna  inquired  if 
they  were  not  near  their  place  of  destination. 

"  Certainly,"  answered  Mackintosh ;  "  that  is  my  house." 

Looking  in  tlie  direction  pointed  out,  their  eyes  were  greeted 
with  the  appearance  of  a  small  road-side  public-house,  in  front 
of  which  hung  a  sign-board,  bearing  the  words  "Good  enter- 
tainment for  man  and  beast "  painted  on  it,  and  beneath  the 
name  of  "  Mackintosh."  Bologna  looked  at  Grimaldi,  and  then 
at  the  public-house,  and  then  at  the  man  in  the  fustian  jacket ; 
but  he  was  far  too  much  engaged  in  contemplating  with  evident 
satisfaction  the  diminutive  dwelling  they  were  approaching,  to 
regard  the  surprise  of  his  companions.  "  Yes,"  he  said,  "that 
house  contains  the  best  of  wines,  ales,  beds,  tobacco,  stabling, 
skittle-grounds,  and  every  other  luxury." 

"  I  beg  your  pardon,"  interposed  Bologna,  who  was  evidently 
mortified,  while  Grimaldi  had  a  strong  and  almost  irresistible 
inclination  to  laugh,  "  but  I  thought  you  were  not  connected 
with  business  at  all  ?" 

"  No  more  I  am,"  said  Mackintosh,  with  a  wink ;  "  the  busi- 
ness belongs  to  mother !" 

Bologna  looked  inexpressibly  annoyed,  and  Grimaldi  laughed 
outright,  at  which  Mr.  Mackintosh  seemed  rather  pleased  than 

the  tax-cart,  "or  stroll  out  with  my  gun  or  my  nshing-rocl. 


Mother's  quite  a  woman  of  business ;  but  as  I  am  an  only  child, 
I  suppose  I  shall  have  to  look  after  it  myself  some  day  or 

He  remained  silent  a  moment,  and  then  said,  touching 
Bologna  smartly  with  his  whip,  "  I  suppose,  old  fellow,  you 
didn't  think  you  were  coming  to  a  public-house — eh  ?" 

"  Indeed  I  did  not,"  was  the  sulky  reply. 

"  Ah  !  I  thought  you'd  be  surprised,  said  Mackintosh,  with 
a  hearty  laugh.  "I  never  let  my  London  friends  know  who 
or  what  I  am,  except  they're  very  particular  friends,  like 
you  and  Joe,  for  instance.  I  just  lead  them  to  guess  I'm  a 
great  man,  and  there  I  leave  'em.  What  does  it  matter  what 
other  ^  idea  strangers  have  about  one  ? — But  here  we  are,  so  get 
out  of  your  gig ;  and  rest  assured  you  shall  have  as  hearty  a 
welcome  as  you'll  ever  get  at  a  nobleman's  house." 

There  was  something  hearty  and  pleasant  in  the  man's 
manner,  despite  his  coarseness ;  so,  finding  that  Bologna  was 
not  inclined  to  speak,  Grimaldi  said  something  civil  himself ; 
which  was  extremely  well  received  by  their  host,  who  shook 
his  hand  warmly,  and  led  them  into  the  house,  where,  being 
introduced  to  Mrs.  Mackintosh  by  her  son,  as  particular  friends 
of  his,  they  were  received  with  great  hospitality,  and  shortly 
afterwards  sat  down  in  the  little  bar  to  a  capital  plain  dinner, 
which,  in  conjunction  with  some  sparkling  ale,  rather  tended  ta 
soothe  the  wounded  spirit  of  Bologna. 

After  dinner  they  walked  about  the  neighbourhood,  wMclj 
was  all  very  pleasant,  and  returning  to  supper,  were  treated 
with  great  hospitality.  On  retiring  to  rest,  Bologna  acknow- 
ledged that  "matters  might  have  been  worse,"  but  before  pro- 
nouncing a  final  opinion,  prudently  waited  to  ascertain  how  the 
preserves  would  turn  out.  On  the  following  day  they  divided 
their  time  pretty  equally  between  eating,  drinking,  chatting 
with  the  chance  customers  of  the  house,  their  host  and  his 
mother,  and,  though  last,  not  least,  preparing  their  guns  for 
the  havoc  which  they  purposed  making  the  next  morning  in 
the  preserves  of  Mr.  Mackintosh,  of  which  preserves  he  still 
continued  to  speak  in  terms  of  the  highest  praise. 

Accordingly,  they  met  at  the  breakfast-table  a  full  hour 
earlier  than  on  the  previous  day,  and  having  despatched  a 
hearty  meal,  sallied  forth,  accompanied  by  Mr.  Mackintosh, 
who  declined  carrying  a  gun,  and  contented  himself  with  show- 
ing the  way.  Having  walked  some  little  distance,  they  came 
to  a  stile,  which  they  climbed  over,  and  after  traversing  a  plot 
of  pasture-land  arrived  at  a  gate,  beyond  which  was  a  field  of 
fine  buckwheat.  Here  the  guide  called  a  halt. 

"  "Wait  a  minute ! — wait  a  minute  1"  cried  he  ;  "  you  are  not 
so  much  accustomed  to  sporting  as  I." 

They  stopped.  He  advanced  to  the  gate,  looked  over,  and 
hastily  returned. 


"  Now's  the  time !"  he  said  eagerly;  "there's  lots  of  birds  in 
that  field!"  They  crept  very  cautiously  onwards:  but  when 
they  reached  the  gate  and  saw  beyond  it,  were  amazed  to 
discern  nothing  but  an  immense  quantity  of  pigeons  feeding  in 
the  field. 

"  There 's  a  covey !"  said  Mackintosh,  admiringly. 

"A  covey!"  exclaimed  Grimaldi.  "Where?  I  see  nothing 
but  pigeons . 

"  Nothing  but  pigeons  ! "  exclaimed  Mackintosh,  con- 
temptuously. "What  did  you  expect  to  find?  Nothing  but 
pigeons  !— Well!" 

*'  I  expected  to  find  pheasants  and  partridges,"  answered 
both  sportsmen  together.  Bologna,  upon  whom  the  sulks  were 
again  beginning  to  fall,  gave  a  grunt  of  disapprobation ;  but 
Mackintosh  either  was,  or  pretended  to  be,  greatly  surprised. 

"  Pheasants  and  partridges  !"  he  exclaimed,  with  a  ludicrous 
expression  of  amazement.  "  Oh  dear,  quite  out  of  the  ques- 
tion !  I  invited  you  down  here  to  shoot  birds — and  pigeons  are 
birds  ;  and  there  are  the  pigeons — shoot  away,  if  you  like.  I 
have  performed  my  part  of  the  agreement.  Pheasants  and 
partridges  !"  he  repeated :  "  most  extraordinary !" 

"The  fellow's  a  humbug!"  whispered  Bologna;  "kill  as 
many  of  his  pigeons  as  you  can." 

With  this  understanding,  Bologna  fired  at  random  into  the 
nearest  cluster  of  pigeons,  and  Grimaldi  fired  upon  them  as 
they  rose  frightened  from  the  ground.  The  slaughter  was  very 
great:  they  picked  up  twenty  in  that  field,  five  in  the  one 
beyond,  and  saw  besides  several  fall  which  they  could  not  find. 
This  great  success,  and  the  agreeable  employment  of  picking 
up  the  birds,  restored  their  equanimity  of  temper,  and  all  went 
well  for  some  time,  until  Mackintosh  said  inquiringly, 

"  I  think  you  have  them  all  now  ?" 

"I  suppose  we  have,"  replied  Bologna  ;  "at  least,  all  except 
those  which  we  saw  fall  among  the  trees  yonder." 

"  Those  you  will  not  be  able  to  get,"  said  Mackintosh. 

"Very  good;  such  being  the  case,  we  have  'em  all,"  re- 
turned Bologna. 

"Very  well,"  said  Mackintosh,  quietly;  "and  now,  if  you 
will  take  my  advice,  you  will  cut  away  at  once." 

"  Cut  away  !"  said  Bologna. 

"  Cut  away  !"  exclaimed  Grimaldi. 

"  Cut  away  is  the  word  !"  repeated  Mr.  Mackintosh. 

"And  why,  pray  ?"  asked  Bologna. 

"  Why  ?"  said  Mr.  Mackintosh.  "  Isn't  the  reason  obvious  ? 
— Because  you've  killed  the  pigeons." 

"  But  what  has  our  killing  these  pigeons  to  do  with  cutting 
away  ?" 

"  Bless  us  !"  cried  Mackintosh,  "  you  are  not  very  bright  to- 
day !  Don't  you  see  that  when  the  squire  comes  to  hear  of  it, 


he'll  be  very  angry.  Now,  what  can  be  plainer,  if  he  is  very 
angry,  as  I  know  he  will  be,  then  if  you  are  here,  he'll  put  you 
in  prison  ?  Don't  you  'stand  that.  ISTo,  no  :  what  I  say  is,  cut 
away  at  once,  and  don't  stop  for  him  to  catch  you." 

"  Pooh  !"  said  Bologna,  with  a  contemptuous  air,  "  I  see  you 
know  nothing  of  the  law.  There's  not  a  squire  in  all  England 
who  has  power  to  put  us  in  prison,  merely  because  we  have 
killed  your  pigeons,  although  we  may  not  have  taken  out 

"My  pigeons!"  exclaimed  Mackintosh.  "Lord  help  you! 
they're  none  o'  mine  ! — they  belong  to  the  squire,  and  very  fond 
of  them  he  is,  and  precious  savage  he'll  be  when  he  finds  out 
how  you  have  been  peppering  them.  So  there  I  come  back  again 
to  what  I  set  out  with.  If  you  two  lads  will  take  my  advice, 
now  you've  got  your  pigeons,  you'll  cut  away  with  them." 

The  remarkable  disclosure  contained  in  this  little  speech 
fairly  overwhelmed  them  ;  they  stared  at  each  other  in  stupid 
surprise,  which  shortly  gave  way  first  to  anger  and  then  to  fear. 
They  were  greatly  awed  at  contemplating  the  risk  which  they 
had  incurred  of  being  "  sent  to  prison  ;"  and  after  a  few  words 
of  angry  remonstrance  addressed  to  Mr.  Mackintosh,  which 
that  gentleman  heard  with  a  degree  of  composure  and  philo- 
sophy quite  curious  to  behold,  they  concluded  that  they  had 
better  act  upon  his  advice,  and  "  cut  away_"  at  once. 

They  lost  no  time  in  returning  to  the  inn ;  and  here,  while 
they  were  engaged  in  packing  up  the  "birds,"  the  singular 
host  got  a  nice  luncheon  ready,  of^  which  they  did  not  fail  to 
partake,  and  then  mounting  their  gig,  they  bade  farewell  to  him 
and  his  mother,  the  former  of  whom  at  Carting  appeared  so 
much  delighted,  and  vented  so  many  knowing  winks,  that  for 
very  life  they  could  not  help  laughing  outright. 

On  the  following  morning,  Bologna  and  Grimaldi  encountered 
each  other  by  chance  in  Covent  Garden.  Grimaldi  had  been  to 
I)rury  Lane  to  see  if  he  were  wanted,  and  Bologna  had  been 
into  the  Strand,  in  which,  during  the  winter  months,  when  he 
was  not  engaged  at  any  theatre,  he  had  an  exhibition.  They 
laughed  heartily  at  meeting,  as  the  recollection  of  the  day 
previous,  and  its  adventures  came  upon  them,  and  finally 
adjourned  to  the  Garrick's  Head,  in  Bow- street,  to  have  a  glass 
of  sherry  and  a  biscuit,  and  once  more  talk  the  matter  over. 
The  house  was  then  kept  by  a  man  of  the  name  of  Spencer,  who 
had  formerly  been  harlequin  at  Drury  Lane,  but  who,  having 
left  the  profession,  had  turned  Boniface  instead.  He  was 
standing  at  the  door  when  they  arrived,  and  all  three  being 
upon  intimate  terms,  was  invited  to  join  in  a  glass  of  wine ;  to 
this  he  readily  assented,  and  they  adjourned  to  his  jprivate 
room,  where  the  Kentish  adventures  were  related,  to  his  great 
amusement  and  pleasure. 

"By  the  by,  though,"  he  said,  when  the  merriment  was 


pretty  well  over,  "  I  wish  you  had  happened  to  mention  to  mo 
that  you  wanted  a  few  days'  shooting,  for  I  could  have  procured 
that  for  you  with  the  greatest  ease.  I  was  born  at  Hayes,  and 
all  my  relatives  live  in  Kent;  besides,  I  know  pretty  well 
every  gamekeeper  in  the  county ; — in  fact,  when  in  town  they 
invariably  come  to  this  house,  and  would  have  been  delighted 
to  have  obliged  any  friend  of  mine." 

"  Ah  !"  said  Bologna,  "  and  in  that  case  we  should  have  had 
birds  to  shoot  at,  and  not  pigeons." 

Here  Mr.  Spencer  indulged  in  a  laugh  which  was  interrupted 
by  the  entrance  of  a  young  man,  who,  though  unknown  to 
.Bologna  and  Grimaldi,  appeared  well  acquainted  with  the  land' 
lord,  who,  after  shaking  him  warmly  by  the  hand  and  bidding 
him  be  seated,  said,  "  But,  Joseph,  what  has  brought  you  so 
suddenly  to  town  ?" 

"  Oh,  drat  it !"  exclaimed  the  new-comer,  "  very  disagreeable 
business  indeed.  There  were  two  vagabonds  down  in  our  parts 
yesterday  from  London,  and  they  killed  and  stole  fifty  or  sixty 
of  master's  pigeons.  I've  come  up  here  to  find  them  out  and 
apprehend  them :  I've  got  a  constable  drinking  in  the  tap." 

This  information  rather  flustered  them,  and  Bologna  turned 
as  pale  as  death ;  but  the  host,  after  indulging  in  two  winks, 
and  one  fit  of  reflection,  quietly  said, 

"  Well,  but  Joseph,  how  can  you  find  them  out,  think  you  ? 
London's  a  large  place,  Joseph." 

"Why,  I'll  tell  you,"  replied  the  gamekeeper,  for  such,  as 
they  afterwards  discovered,  he  was.  "  I  found  out,  that  the 
rascals  had  been  staying  at  Mrs.  Mackintosh's  house,  and  were 
friends  of  her  son ;  so  I  went  to  him  last  night  and  asked  him 
where  the  fellows  were.  *  Oh,'  says  he,  '  I  know  what  you've 
come  about:  they've  cut  away  with  them  pigeons  !'  'Yes,'  says 
I ;  *  and  unless  you  tell  me  wnere  they've  cut  away  to,  I  shall 
make  you  answerable.'  '  Oh,'  says  he  again,  '  I  know  nothing 
about  'em ;  they're  no  friends  of  mine,'  he  says,  '  they're  only 
play-actors :  one's  a  Clown  and  t' other's  a  Harlequin  at  one  of 
the  London  theatres.'  And  this  was  all  I  could  get  from  him  ; 
so  up  I  came  this  morning,  and  knowing  that  you  were  ac- 
quainted with  theatrical  people,  I  thought  I'd  come  and  ask  you 
which  of  the  Clowns  and  which  of  the  Harlequins  it  was  most 
likely  to  be." 

"  Is  the  squire  very  angry?"  asked  Spencer. 

"  Oh,  very,"  responded  Joseph,  with  a  shake  of  the  head : 
"  he's  determined  to  pursue  them  to  the  very  extremity  of  the 

Upon  hearing  this,  Grimaldi  was  much  troubled  in  mind ;  not 
that  he  thought  Spencer  was  a  man  likely  to  betray  his  friends, 
but  fearing  that  by  some  inadvertence  he  might  disclose  what 
he  felt  certain  his  will  would  prompt  him  to  conceal.  As  to 
Bologna,  his  agitation  alone  was  sufficient  to  announce  the  real 


state  of  the  fact ;  for,  in  addition  to  a  ghastly  paleness  which 
overspread  his  face,  he  trembled  so  much,  that  in  an  attempt  to 
convey  some  wine  to  his  lips,  he  deposited  it  upon  his  knees  and 
left  it  tnere,  staring  all  the  while  at  the  gamekeeper  with  a  most 
crest-fallen  visage. 

"  There's  one  thing  the  squire  appears  to  have  forgotten,"  said 
Spencer,  "  and  that  is  simply  this — that  before  he  can  pursue 
these  fellows  to  the  extremity  of  the  law,  he  has  got  to  find 

"True,"  answered  Joseph;  "and  unless  you  assist  me,  I'r/» 
afraid  I  sha'n't  be  able  to  do  that.  I  suppose,  now,  there  are  » 
good  many  Clowns  and  Harlequins  in  London, — eh  ?" 

"  A  great  many,"  replied  Spencer.    "  I  am  one,  for  instance." 

"  Oh  !"  smiled  the  gamekeeper,  "  but  it  isn't  you." 

"  That's  true,"  said  the  host,  composedly.  "  But  I'U  tell  you 
what;  it  is  two  particular  friends  of  mine,  though,  who  did 

Joseph  exclaimed,  "  Indeed !"  and  Bologna  gave  Grimaldi  a 
look  which  clearly  evidenced  his  conviction,  firstly,  that 
it  was  all  up,  and  secondly,  that  it  was  impossible  to  "  cut 

"  Friends  of  yours— hey  ?"  said  Joseph,  ruminating.  "  Then  I 
expect  you  wont  assist  me  in  finding  them  out  ?" 

"Not  a  bit  of  it,"  answered  Spencer,  "so  you  may  go  and 
look  among  the  Harlequins  and  Clowns  yourself,  and  Heaven 
help  you !  for  the  jokes  they  will  play  and  the  tricks  they  will 
serve  you  will  be  enough  to  wear  your  heart  out." 

Joseph  looked  greatly  mortified  at  this  compassionate  speech, 
and,  after  a  moment's  pause,  stammered  out  something  about 
"  that  being  Mr.  Spencer's  friends,  it  made  a  greattlifference." 

"  I'll  tell  you  what  it  is,  Joseph,"  said  the  landlord ;  "  say  no 
more  about  this  affair,  and  my  two  friends  will  pay  a  reasonable 
sum  for  the  pigeons,  and  stand  a  rumpsteak  dinner  and  a  bottle 
of  wine  this  very  day.  What  say  you  ?" 

Joseph's  countenance  brightened  up.  "  Oh !"  said  he,  "  as  to 
the  pigeons,  of  course,  I  could  manage.  If  the  gentlemen  are 
friends  of  yours,  consider  the  matter  settled, — I'll  talk  the 
squire  over  about  the  matter.  And  as  to  the  steak  and  wine, 
why  I  don't  mind  partaking  of  them ;  and,  in  return,  they  shall 
come  down  into  Kent  some  day  next  week,  and  I'll  give  them  a 
morning's  shooting." 

"  Then,"  said  Spencer,  rising  formally,  "these  are  the  gentle- 
men. Gentlemen,  this  is  Mr.  Josjeph  Clarke." 

All  was  satisfactorily  settled :  the  rump-steak  and  wine  were 
ordered,  duly  eaten  and  drunk,  and  they  spent  the  afternoon 
together  very  jovially,  accepting  Mr.  Clarke's  invitation  for 
another  "day's  shooting"  with  great  alacrity ;— nor  did  they 
omit  keeping  the  appointment;  but,  on  the  day  fixed,  went 
once  more  into  Kent,  when,  under  the  able  guidance  of  their 



new  acquaintance,  they  succeeded  in  killing  and  bagging  four 
share  and  five  brace  of  pheasants  in  less  than  two  hours. 

They  returned  to  town  without  seeing  anything  more  of  their 
friend  Mr.  Mackintosh,  but  being  upon  the  very  best  terms  with 
Mr.  Joseph  Clarke,  who — but  for  his  really  keeping  his  word 
and  giving  them  a  day's  sport— might  be  not  unreasonably 
suspected  of  having  been  in  league  with  the  landlord  to  use 
the  sportsmen  for  their  joint  amusement,  and  to  extract  a  good 
dinner  from  them  besides. 

At  Drury  Lane  no  novelty  was  brought  out  until  the  holidays. 
John  Kemble  had  left  the  theatre  on  the  termination  of  the 
previous  season,  and  had  become  a  proprietor  of  the  other  house, 
by  purchasing  the  share  in  the  establishment  which  had  pre- 
viously belonged  to  Mr.  W.  Lewis.  He  became  acting  manager 
at  once ;  Mr.  Wroughton  succeeding  to  his  (Mr.  Kemble's)  old 
situation  at  Drury  Lane. 

In  January,  1805,  they  brought  out  at  Drury  a  most  miserable 
specimen  of  a  pantomime  called  "Harlequin's  Fireside,"  which, 
contrary  to  the  expectations  of  the  company,  ran  till  the  follow- 
ing Easter,  and  was  received,  to  their  great  amazement,  with 
considerable  applause.  Mr.  T.  Dibdin,  to  whom  Grimaldi 
expressed  his  surprise  at  its  reception,  admitted  the  poverty 
of  the  piece,  and  observed  that  the  abilities  of  the  actors  had 
alone  occasioned  its  success.  Grimaldi  says  it  was  very  kind  of 
him  to  say  so,  and  thinks  that  perhaps  it  might  be.  It  is  by  no 
means  improbable,  for  similar  results  are  not  unfrequent  now-a- 

Sadler's  "Wells  reopened,  as  usual,  at  Easter,  1805 :  Grimaldi 
and  Bologna  were  again  engaged,  and  the  season  was  a  very 
profitable  one.  "When  "  Harlequin's  Fireside"  had  ceased  run- 
ning, he  did  not  play  at  Drury  above  half  a  dozen  times  during 
the  rest  of  the  season.  The  theatre  closed  in  June,  and  re- 
opened again  on  the  21st  of  September,  the  performances  being 
"  Othello"  and  "  Lodoiska,"  in  which  latter  piece  Grimaldi,  his 
wife,  and  mother,  all  appeared.  ^ 

On  the  conclusion  ot  the  night's  amusements,  he  had  an 
interview  with  the  acting  manager,  which,  although  at  first 
both  pleasing  and  profitable,  led  ^in  less  than  six  weeks  to  his 
departure  from  the  theatre  at  which  he  had  originally  appeared, 
and  in  which  he  had  constantly  played,  with  all  possible  suc- 
cess, for  nearly  four-and-twenty  years. 



1805  to  1806. 

Stage  Affairs  and  Stage  Quarrels— Mr.  Graham,  the  Bow  Street  Magistrate  and 
Drury  Lane  Manager — Mr.  Peake — Grimaldi  is  introduced  to  Mr.  Harris  by 
John  Kemble — Leaves  Drury  Lane  and  engages  at  Coyent  Garden— Mortifi- 
cation of  the  authorities  at  "  the  other  house" — He  joins  Charles  Dibdin's 
Company  and  visits  Dublin— The  wet  Theatre— 111  success  of  the  speculation, 
and  great  success  of  his  own  Benefit — Observations  on  the  comparative 
strength  of  Whisky  Punch  and  Hum  Punch,  with  interesting  experiments. 

THE  manager  of  Drury  Lane  had  advertised  Tobin's  comedy 
of  "  The  Honey  Moon"  as  the  play  for  the  second  night  of  the 
season;*  not  recollecting,  until  it  was  too  late  to  alter  the  bills, 
that  in  consequence  of  the  secession  of  Mr.  Byrne,  who  had 
been  ballet-master,  and  the  non-engagement  of  any  other  per- 
son in  his  place,  there  was  no  one  to  arrange  the  dance  incidental 
to  the  piece.  In  this  dilemma,  Grrimaldi,  who  had  been  accus- 
tomed to  arrange  the^dances  at  Sadler's  Wells,  _  was  sent  for 
and,  as  soon  as  "  Lodoiska"  was  over,  the  interview  took  place 
between  him  and  the  manager  to  which  reference  was  made  at 
the  close  of  the  last  chapter. 

Mr.  Wroughton,  after  stating  that  he  was  in  a  very  unexpected 
dilemma,  and  that  unless  Grrimaldi  would  assist  him  he  would 
have  to  change  the  piece  for  the  ensuing  night, — which  it  was 
exceedingly  desirable  to  avoid  doing,  if  possible, — briefly  nar- 
rated the  circumstances  in  which  the  theatre  was  placed,  and 
concluded  by  offering  him  two  pounds  per  week  in  addition  to 
his  regular  salary,  if  he  would  arrange  the  dance  in  question, 
and  assist  in  getting  up  any  other  little  dances  and  processions 
that  might  be  required.  This  offer  he  readily  accepted,  merely 
stipulating  that  the  increased  salary  should  be  understood  to 
extend  over  the  whole  season,  and  not  merely  until  another 
ballet-master  was  engaged.  Mr.  "Wroughton  observed,  that 
nothing  could  be  fairer,  that  this  was  what  he  meant,  and  that 

*  £rnry  Lane  opened  for  the  season  on  September  14, 1805,  with  the  "  Country 
Girl,"  Peggy,  Mrs.  Jordan  ;  and  the  farce  of  "  The  Irishman  in  London. 
Byrne,  and  his  son  Oscar,  had  quitted  at  the  close  of  the  last  season,  and  were 
engaged  at  Covent  Garden ;  and  D'Egville  had  abandoned  his  situation  at  the 
King's  Theatre,  to  succeed  Byrne  as  ballet-master  at  Drury  Lane  :  all  this  w»» 
known  before  the  opening. 

.Id  aoaiiuKS  or  JOSEPH  GKIMALDT. 

Grimaldi  had  his  instructions  to  engage  as  many  male  dancers  as 
he  might  deem  necessary.  He  at  once  entered  upon  his  new  office 
immediately  engaged  as  many  hands  (or  legs)  as  he  required, 
arranged  the  dance  during  the  night,  called  a  rehearsal  of  it  at 
ten  in  the  morning,  got  it  into  a  perfect  state  by  twelve,  rehearsed 
it  again  in  its  proper  place  in  the  comedy,  and  at  night  had  the 
satisfaction  of  hearing  it  encored  with  great  applause. 

At  the  end  of  the  week,  he  received  his  increased  salary  from 
Mr.  Peake,  the  treasurer,  a  gentleman  well  known  and  highly 
respected  by  all  connected  with  the  stage  or  theatrical  literature, 
who  shook  him  by  the  hand,  congratulated  him  on  this  new 
improvement  of  his  income,  and  cordially  wished  him  success. 

Before  he  accepted  the  money,  he  said,  "My  dear  sir,  to 
vent  any  future  difference,  it  is  thoroughly  understood,  is  it, 
this  increase  is  for  the  season  ?" 

"  Undoubtedly,"  replied  Mr.  Peake :  "  I  will  show  you,  if 
you  like,  Mr.  Graham's  written  order  to  me  to  that  effect." 
This  he  did,  and  Grimaldi  of  course  was  perfectly  satisfied.  Mr. 
Graham,  who  was  then  a  magistrate  at  Bow-street,  was  at  the 
head  of  affairs  at  Drury  Lane. 

All  went  on  well  for  some  little  time.  Mr.  James  D'Egville 
was  engaged  as  ballet-master  shortly  afterwards ;  but  this  made 
no  alteration  in  the  footing  upon  which  Grimaldi  was  placed. 
There  was  no  difference  of  opinion  between  the  ballet-master 
and  himself,  for  he  continued  to  arrange  the  minor  dances  and 
processions,  and  his  arrangements  were  repeatedly  very  warmly 
commended  by  Mr.  D'Egville. 

A  new  grand  ballet,  called  "  Terpsichore,"  was  produced  by 
the  latter  gentleman  immediately  after  his  joining  the  company 
in  which  Grimaldi  performed  Pan,  which  he  always  considered 
a  capital  character,  and  one  of  the  best  he  ever  had  to  play. 
The  ballet  was  got  up  to  bring  forward  Madame  Parisot,*  who 

*  The  management  of  Drury  Lane,  in  their  desire  of  novelty,  had  engaged  M. 
Joubert,  and  Mademoiselle  Parisot,  from  the  King's  Theatre  for  the  season. 
On  October  24,  it  was  underlined  in  the  bill  of  the  day,  that  she  would  appear 
for  the  first  time,  on  that  stage,  on  Monday,  the  28th,  in  a  new  ballet,  composed 
by  M.  D'Egville,  entitled  "Terpsichore's  Eeturn;"  it  was,  however,  "owing 
to  the  indisposition  of  a  principal  performer,"  deferred  a  few  days — till  Novem- 
ber 1.  In  this  ballet,  Grimaldi  had  a  great  part,  that  of  Pan,  in  which  he  fell 
in  love  with  Terpsichore,  who,  after  favouring  his  pretensions,  jilted  him ;  this 
allowed  Joe  full  latitude  of  display,  and  the  applause  the  ballet  obtained  had 
never  been  exceeded  on  the  production  of  any  drama  or  piece  in  that,  or  any 
other  theatre.  The  ballet  was  performed  the  fifth  time,  on  Saturday,  November 
9,  on  which  night  Grimaldi  quitted  the  theatre,  and  never  afterwards  was  within 
jts  walls.  "  Terpsichore's  Keturn"  was  performed  a  sixth  time,  on  Monday, 
November  25,  and  Pan  was  personated  by  George  D'Egville,  a  pantomimist, 
and  brother  to  James  D'Egville,  the  ballet-master.  George  D'Egville  had  per- 
formed  with  great  eclat  the  part  of  Caliban,  at  the  Haymarket,  in  a  similar 
ballet,  derived  from  Shakspeare's  "Tempest,"  and  as  his  engagement  was 
possibly  on  the  tapis  for  Drury  Lane,  (Pan  apparently  having  been  designed  for 
aim,)  Joe  fancying  that  two  suns  could  not  shine  in  the  same  sphere,  broke  the 
terms  of  hit  engagement,  and  left  the  course  clear  to  his  successor. 


was  engaged  for  the  season,  for  one  thousand  guineas.  It  was 
thoroughly  rehearsed,  at  least  fourteen  times  before  the  night  of 
performance ;  was  very  favourably  received,  and  had  a  good 

He  was  not  a  little  surprised,  on  Saturday  the  26th  of  October, 
when  he  went  as  usual  to  the  treasury  to  draw  his  salary,  to 
hear  that  thenceforth  the  extra  two  pounds  would  not  be  paid. 
Mr.  Peake  admitted  that  he  was  also  very  much  surprised  and 
annoyed  at  the  circumstance,  again  producing  Mr.  Graham's 
letter,  and  candidly  acknowledging,  that  in  his  opinion  this 
ancalled-for  attempt  to  rescind  tne  contract,  which  was  none  of 
Grimaldi's  seeking,  was  very  paltry.  He  immediately  waited 
upon  Mr.  Wroughton  and  mentioned  the  circumstance,  at  which 
he  too  appeared  greatly  vexed,  although  it  was  not  in  his  power 
to  order  the  additional  sum  to  be  paid.  He  then  mentioned  the 
circumstance  to  his  wife,  dwelling  upon  it  with  great  irritation ; 
but  she,  observing  that  it  was  of  no  consequence,  for  they  could 
do  very  well  without  it,  proposed  that,  having  nothing  to  do  at 
Drury  Lane  that  night,  they  should  go  for  an  hour  or  two  to 
Covent  Garden. 

To  this  proposition  he  made  no  objection;  so,  as  he  passed 
down  Bow-street,  he  called  in  upon  Mr.  T.  Dibdin  for  an  order, 
and  the  conversation  happening  naturally  enough  to  turn  upon 
theatrical  affairs,  mentioned  what  had  just  occurred  at  Drury 
Lane.  Mr.  Dibdin  immediately  expressed  himself  in  very 
strong  terms  upon  the  subject,  and  counselled  Grimaldi  to  with- 
draw from  the  theatre,  and  to  accept  an  engagement  at  the 
other  house.  The  advice  generated  a  long  conversation  between 
them,  which  terminated  in  Grimaldi  saying,  Mr.  Dibdin  might, 
if  he  pleased,  mention  the  subject  to  Mr.  Harris,  and  say,  if  the 
Management  were  willing  to  engage  him,  he  was  willing  to  enter 
into  articles  for  the  following  season. 

In  the  course  of  the  evening,  he  received  a  note  begging  his 
attendance  at  Covent  Garden  on  Monday,  at  twelve,  and  keeping 
the  appointment,  was  ushered  into  a  room  in  which  were  Mr. 
Hams  and  John  Kemble.  The  latter  greeted  him  in  a  very 
friendly  manner,  and  said, 

"Well,  Joe,  I  see  you  are  determined  to  follow  me." 

"  Yes,  sir,"  replied  Grimaldi,  who  had  been  thinking  of  some- 
thing polite ;  "  you  are  a  living  magnet  of  attraction,  Mr. 

At  this  Mr.  Harris  laughed  and  congratulated  the  tragedian 
on  receiving  so  handsome  a  compliment.  Kemble  inquired  of 
Grimaldi  whether  he  knew  Mr.  Harris,  and  receiving  a  reply 
in  the  negative,  introduced  him  to  that  gentleman  as  "Joe 
Grimaldi,"  whose  father  he  had  known  well,  who  was  a  true 
chip  of  the  old  block,  and  the  first  low  comedian  in  the  country. 

Mr.  Harris  said  a  great  many  fine  things  in  reply  to  these 


commendations,  and,  rising1,  requested  Grimaldi  to  follow  him 
into  an  adjoining  apartment.  He  did  so,  and  in  less  than  a 
quarter  of  an  hour  had  signed  articles  for  five  seasons;  the 
terms  being,  for  the  first  season,  six  pounds  per  week ;  for  the 
second  and  third,  seven  pounds ;  and  for  the  fourth  and  fifth, 
eight  pounds.  Independent  of  these  emoluments,  he  had  several 
privileges  reserved  to  him,  among  which  was  the  very  important 
one  of  permission  to  play  at  Sadler's  Wells,  as  he  had  thereto- 
fore done.  These  arrangements  being  concluded,  he  took  his 
leave,  greatly  satisfied  with  the  improved  position  in  which  he 
stood,  as  up  to  that  time  he  had  only  received  four  pounds  per 
week  at  Drury  Lane.* 

In  the  evening,  he  had  to  play  Pan  in  the  ballet  at  Drury. 
"When  he  had  dressed  for  the  part,  he  entered  the  green-room, 
which  was  pretty  full  of  ladies  and  gentlemen,  among  whom 
was  Mr  Graham,  who,  the  moment  he  saw  him,  inquired  if  a 
report  that  had  reached  him  of  Mr.  Grimaldi's  going  to  Covent 
Garden  for  the  following  season  were  correct.  Grrimaldi  replied 
in  the  affirmative,  adding,  that  he  was  engaged  at  the  other 
house  not  only  for  the  following  season,  but  for  the  four  ensuing 

Mr.  Graham  started  up  in  a  state  of  considerable  excitement 
on  hearing  this,  and  addressed  the  performers  present,  at  con- 
siderable length,  expatiating  in  strong  language  upon  what  he 
termed  "Grimaldi's  ingratitude"  in  leaving  the  theatre. 
Grimaldi  waited  patiently  until  he  had  concluded,  and  then, 
addressing  himself  to  the  same  auditors,  made  a  counter-state- 
ment, in  which  he  recapitulated  the  whole  of  the  circumstances 
as  they  had  actually  occurred.  When  he  came  to  mention  Mr. 

*  The  transfer  of  Joe's  services  from  Drury  Lane  to  the  rival  Theatre  Covent 
Garden,  is  differently  accounted  for  by  Tom  Dibdin,  who  was  a  party  in  the 
affair,  and  whose  recollection  of  past  facts  was  generally  too  correct  to  be  called 
in  question.  Grimaldi's  engagement  at  Covent  Garden  is  stated  to  have  been 
effected  prior  to  his  going  to  Peter-street,  Dublin,  in  the  pay  of  the  two  Dibdius; 
the  contrary  was  the  fact.  After  Grimaldi's  return  from  Dublin,  he  sought 
employment  at  Covent  Garden,  nor  is  there  reason  tc  doubt  Dibdin's  statement 
in  any  way.  He  says :  "  I  had  often  pressed  Mr.  Harris  to  engage  Grimaldi  for 
my  pantomimes,  but  his  answer  was,  he  would  not  be  the  first  to  infringe  an 
agreement  made  between  Drury  Lane  and  Covent  Garden,  not  to  engage  each 
other's  performers  until  a  twelvemonth  had  elapsed  since  such  performers  had 
eft  their  situations.  Grimaldi,  by  going  in  our  venture  to  Dublin,  had  now 
dissolved  this  obstacle  ;  and  I  one  day  met  him  at  the  stage-door  of  Covent 
Garden,  waiting,  as  he  told  me,  to  see  Mr.  Shotter,  a  confidential  servant  of 
Mr.  Harris,  who  would  take  up  his  name  to  the  proprietor :  he  also  told  me 
what  terms  he  meant  to  ask  for  three  years,  which  were  so  very  modest,  and  so 
much  beneath  his  value,  that  I  went  immediately  to  Mr.  Harris,  and  advised 
aim  to  offer  a  pound  per  week,  the  first  year ;  two,  the  second ;  and  three,  the 
third,  more  than  the  sum  Mr.  Grimaldi  had  mentioned  :  this  was  done  instant- 
aneously ;  and  the  best  clown  ever  seen  on  the  stage,  was  retained  for  '  Mother 
Goose:'  when  I  say  the  best,  I  do  not  except  his  father,  whose  vit  comica  I  per- 
fectly  well  remember."— Reminiscences,  1827,  Vol.  I.  p.  399. 


Graham's  letter  to  Mr.  Peake,  the  treasurer,  the  former  hastily 
interrupted  him  by  demanding  what  letter  he  referred  to. 

"The  letter,"  replied  Grimaldi,  "in  which  you  empowered 
Mr.  Peake  to  pay  the  increased  salary  for  the  whole  of  the 

"  If  Mr.  Peake  showed  you  that  letter,"  replied  Mr.  Graham, 
in  a  great  passion,  "  Mr.  Peake  is  a  fool  for  his  pains." 

"  Mr.  Peake,"  rejoined  Grimaldi,  "  is  a  gentleman,  sir,  and  a 
man  of  honour,  and,  I  am  quite  certain,  disdains  being  made 
a  party  to  any  such  unworthy  conduct  as  you  have  pursued 
towards  me." 

A  rather  stormy  scene  followed,  from  which  Grimaldi  came 
off  victorious ;  Barrymore  and  others  taking  up  his  cause  so 
vigorously,  that  Mr.  Graham  at  length  postponed  any  further 
discussion  and  walked  away.  Enough  having  taken  place, 
however,  to  enable  him  to  foresee  that  his  longer  stay  at  Drury 
Lane  would  only  be  productive  of  constant  discomfort  to  himself, 
he  gave  notice  to  Mr.  Graham  on  the  following  morning  of  his 
intention  to  leave  the  theatre  on  the  ensuing  Saturday  week. 
This  resolve  gave  rise  to  another  battle  between  Mr.  Graham 
and  himself,  in  the  course  of  which  he  was  pleased  to  say,  that 
he  could  not  play  the  ballet  without  him,  and,  consequently, 
that  if  he  left,  he  would  bring  an  action  against  him  for  loss 
incurred  by  its  not  being  performed.  Grimaldi,  however,  firmly 
adhered  to  his  original  resolution:  acting  therein  upon  the 
advice  of  Mr.  Hughes,  who  strenuously  counselled  him  by  no 
means  to  depart  from  it. 

Considering  himself  now  at  perfect  liberty  until  Easter,  he 
entered  into  an  engagement  to  perform  at  Astley's  theatre  in 
Dublin,  which  had  just  been  taken  for  a  short  period  by  Messrs. 
Charles  and  Thomas  Dibdin.  These  gentlemen  had  engaged  the 
greater  part  of  the  Sadler's  Wells'  company,  including  Bologna 
and  his  wife  (who  had  been  engaged  by  Mr.  Harris  for  the  next 
season  at  Covent  Garden  on  the  same  day  as  Grimaldi  himself), 
and  they  offered  Grimaldi  fourteen  guineas  a- week  for  himself, 
and  two  for  his  wife,  half  a  clepr  benefit  at  the  end  of  the  season, 
and  all  his  travelling  expenses  both  by  land  and  sea. 

On  the  9th  of  November  he  closed  his  engagement  at  Drury 
Lane,  performing  Pan  in  the  ballet  of  "Terpsichore."  He 
started  on  the  following  morning,  accompanied  by  his  wife,  for 
Dublin,  leaving  his  little  son,  who  was  in  very  weak  health,  at 
home.  They  had  a  very  tedious  journey  to  Holyhead,  and  a 
very  stormy  one  from  thence  to  Dublin ;  experiencing  the  usual 
troubles  from  cold,  sickness,  fatigue,  and  otherwise,  by  the 
way.  Mr.  and  Mrs.  Charles  Dibdin,  who  had  arrived  first, 
received  them  with  much  cordiality  and  kindness;  and  they 
took  lodgings  at  the  house  of  a  Mr.  Davis,  in  Peter-street. 
On  Mouday,  November  the  18th,  the  theatre  opened,  and  their 


career  was  for  some  time  eminently  successful  as  long,  indeed, 
as  the  fine  weather  lasted ;  but  no  sooner  did  the  rainy  weather 
set  in,  than  the  manager  discovered,  to  his  horror  and  surprise, 
that  the  roof  of  the  theatre,  being  in  a  dilapidated  condition,  was 
not  waterproof.  At  length,  one  night  towards  the  end  of  De- 
cember, a  very  heavy  rain  coming  down  during  the  performance, 
actually  drove  the  audience  out  of  the  house.  The  water  de- 
scended in  torrents  into  the  pit  and  boxes :  some  people  who 
were  greatly  interested  in  the  performances  put  up  their 
umbrellas,  and  others  put  on  great  coats  and  shawls ;  but  at 
length  it  came  down  so  heavily  upon  the  stage,  that  the  per- 
formers themselves  were  obliged  to  disappear.  In  a  few  minutes 
the  stage  was  covered,  the  scenery  soaked  through,  the  pit  little 
better  than  a  well,  and  the  boxes  and  gallery  streaming  with 

This  unforeseen  occurrence  threw_both  literally  and  figuratively 
a  damp  upon  the  performances  which  there  was  no  recovering. 
From  that  time,  with  the  single  exception  of  one  evening,  the 
theatre  was  deserted.  Tarpaulings,  and  all  kinds  of  cheap 
remedies,  were  tried,  but  they  all  failed  in  producing  their  in- 
tended effect.  They  never  kept  the  water  out,  or  drew  the  com- 
pany in.  As  to  any  thorough  repair  of  the  roof,  it  was  wholly 
out  of  the  question ;  for  the  I)ibdms  only  held  the  theatre  until 
March,  and  the  necessary  repairs  under  this  head  alone  would 
have  cost  at  the  very  least  2001. 

In  this  state  of  things,  Mr.  Charles  Dibdin  was  compelled  to 
write  to  London  for  remittances  wherewith  to  pay  his  company. 
Knowing  exactly  how  he  was  situated,  Grimaldi  volunteered 
his  services  in  the  only  way  in  which  he  could  render  them,  and 
offered  not  to  send  to  the  treasury  for  his  salary,  but  to  leave  it 
to  be  paid  whenever  the  manager  might  appoint  after  their 
return  to  London.  This  offer,  it  is  almost  unnecessary  to  add, 
was  gratefully  accepted. 

About  the  middle  of  January,  Mr.  Jones,  the  manager  of  the 
Crow  Street  Theatre,  hearing  how  badly  the  Astley's  people  were 
doing,  and  yet  finding  that,  bad  as  their  business  was,  it  injured 
his,  made  an  offer  to  Mr.  Dibdin  to  take  his  company  off  his 
hands  at  the  terms  upon  which  he  had  originally  engaged  them, 
and  for  the  remainder  of  the  time  specified  in  their  articles,  and 
further,  to  make  some  pecuniary  compensation  to  Mr.  Dibdin 
himself.  _  The  manager  assembled  the  company  on  the  stage, 
after  their  having  had  the  mortification  of  playing  to  an  empty 
house,  on  Tuesday,  January  the  28th,  and  communicated  this 
offer  to  them,  and  earnestly  urged  upon  them  the  acceptance 
of  the  proposal,  as  the  only  means  by  which  himself  and  his 
brother  could  hope  to  recover  any  portion  of  the  losses  they  had 
already  sustained.  Grimaldi  at  once  expressed  his  readiness  to 
accede  to  the  proposition,  and  used  his  utmost  influence  with 


the  other  members  of  the  company  to  induce  them  to  do  the 
like.  He  succeeded,  except  in  the  case  of  two  of  the  performers, 
who  preferred  returning  at  once  to  England. 

When  this  was  arranged  to  the  satisfaction  of  all  parties,  Mr. 
Dibdin  announced  his  intention  to  olose  the  theatre  on  the  next 
Saturday,  February  the  1st.  Grimaldi  took  the  opportunity  of 
inquiring  what  was  to  become  of  his  half-benefit  which  had 
been  agreed  upon.  The  manager  replied,  with  a  melancholy 
smile,  that  he  might  give  him  anything  he  liked  for  his  half- 
twenty  pounds  would  do,  and  he  should  have  the  entire  house 
next  Saturday.  Grrimaldi  immediately  paid  the  twenty  pounds, 
and  on  the  following  morning  commenced  making  preparations 
for  his  benefit,  having  barely  four  days  in  which  to  announce 
the  performances,  and  sell  his  tickets. 

He  had  borne  an  introductory  letter  to  Captain  Trench,  whose 
unvarying  kindness  to  him  on  every  possible  occasion  he  most 
gratefully  acknowledged,  and  to  this  gentleman  he  first  men- 
tioned his  intention  of  taking  a  benefit.  He  also  mentioned  it 
to  his  landlord.  Their  replies  were  characteristic. 

"  Let  me  have  a  hundred  box-tickets,"  said  Captain  Trench : 
'  keep  the  two  centre  boxes  for  me.  If  I  want  any  more  tickets 
I'll  send  for  them ;  but  here's  the  money  for  the  hundred." 

"  Give  me  a  hundred  pit-tickets,"  said  the  landlord.  "If  I 
can  sell  more,  I  will ;  but  here  is  the  money  for  them." 

He  had  his  bills  printed  and  well  circulated,  but  did  no  more 
business  until  the  Saturday  morning,  which  made  him  uneasy ; 
though  the  fact  simply  was,  that  the  people  were  waiting  to  see 
how  the  weather  would  turn  out ;  very  well  knowing  that  if  it 
were  a  wet  night,  the  theatre  would  be  the  very  worst  place  in 
which  to  encounter  the  rain.  Fortune,  however,  was  propitious ; 
the  day  was  cloudless,  fair,  and  beautiful ;  and  the  result  was, 
that  after  having  at  nine  o'clock  in  the  morning  no  one  place 
taken  except  the  two  boxes  bespoken  by  Captain  Trench,  at  one 
o'clock  in  the  afternoon  not  a  single  place  remained  unlet.  At 
one  time,  when  there  was  no  doubt  of  the  weather  remaining 
dry,  there  were  no  fewer  than  sixteen  carriages  standing  before 
his  door,  the  owners  of  which  were  all  anxious  to  obtain  places, 
and  all  of  whom  he  was  reluctantly  compelled  to  disappoint. 

The  receipts  of  the  house  amounted  to  one  hundred  and  ninety- 
seven  pounds  nineteen  shillings,  not  to  mention  a  variety  of 
presents,  including  a  magnificent  gold  snuff-box,  from  Captain 
Trench,  which  was  worth,  in  weight  alone,  more  than  thirty 
pounds  sterling. 

This  purchase  of  Dibdin's  half  of  the  benefit  for  twenty 
pounds  was  not  only  a  very  fortunate  thing  for  Grimaldi,  but 
was,  on  the  other  hand,  in  some  degree  serviceable  to  Dibdin 
also,  inasmuch  as  it  enabled  Grimaldi  to  oblige  him  with  a  loan 
»f  one  hundred  pounds,  of  which  at  that  moment,  in  consequence 


of  his  undeserved  misfortunes,  lie  stood  much  in  need.  This 
advance,  together  with  salary  due  and  other  matters,  left  Mr. 
Dibdin  indebted  to  Grimaldi  in  the  sum  of  one  hundred  and 
ninety-six  pounds,  the  whole  of  which  was  honourably  repaid  a 
few  months  afterwards. 

This  benefit  closed  the  season  of  the  "  wet"  Theatre  in  Peter 
Street ;  and  on  the  following  Monday,  Grimaldi,  and  the  greater 
part  of  the  London  company,  appeared  at  the  Crow  Street 
Theatre,  where  they  acted  until  the  29th  of  March.  One  cir- 
cumstance is  sufficient  to  show  that  the  performances  were  un- 
usually successful,  which  is,  that  the  two  pieces  in  which  he 
came  put, — namely,  "Harlequin  JEsop,"  and/'  Coa  and  Zoa,  or 
the  Rival  Indians," — were  found  quite  attractive  enough  for  the 
whole  period.  He  did  not  appear  in  any  other  part,  even  for  a 
single  night,  during  the  whole  of  his  engagement. 

On  Sunday,  March  the  30th,  they  packed  up,  and  at  ten 
o'clock  in  the  evening  of  Monday  went  on  board  the  packet,  in 
which  they  had  taken  their  berths  to  Holyhead,  after  receiving 
the  warmest  and  kindest  hospitality  from  every  person  they  had 
encountered  in  Dublin.  "With  only  one  letter  of  introduction, 
Grimaldi  had  found  himself  in  the  course  of  a  few  days  sur- 
rounded by  friends  whose  hospitality  and  cordiality,  not  only  of 
profession,  but  of  action,  were  beyond  all  bounds :  one  would 
invite  him  to  dinner,  and  be  personally  affronted  by  his  not 
dining  with  him  every  day;  another  who  wished  to  pay  him  a 
similar  attention,  but  whose  dinner-hour  would  have  interfered 
with  the  rehearsal,  only  gave  up  bis  claim  upon  the  condition 
that  his  wife  and  himself  should  dine  with  him  every  Sunday ; 
a  third  placed  a  jaunting-car  at  his  disposal,  and  sent  it  to  his 
door  at  eleven  o'clock  every  morning ;  and  a  fourth  expected 
him  to  meet  a  small  party  at  supper  regularly  every  night.  He 
had  heard  and  read  a  great  deal  of  Irish  hospitality,  but  had 
formed  no  conception  of  its  extent  and  heartiness  until  he  expe- 
rienced its  effects  in  his  own  person. 

He  was  much  struck,  as  most  Englishmen  are,  lay  the  enor- 
mous consumption  of  whisky-punch,  and  the  facility  with  which 
the  good  folks  of  Dublin  swallow  tumbler  after  tumbler  of  it, 
without  any  visible  symptoms  of  intoxication.  He  entertained 
a  theory  that  some  beverage  of  equal  strength,  to  which  they 
were  unaccustomed,  would  be  as  trying  to  them  as  their  whisky- 
punch  was  to  him,  (for  he  was  always  afraid  of  a  second  tumbler 
of  toddy,)  and,  with  a  view  of  putting  it  to  the  proof,  gave 
a  little  party  at  his  lodgings  on  Twelfth  Night,  and  compounded 
some  good  strong  English  rum-punch,  with  rather  more  than  a 
dash  of  brandy  in  it.  -  He  considers  that  the  experiment  was 
eminently  successful,  asserting  that  one-fourth  of  the  quantity 
which  the  guests  would  have  drunk  with  complete  impunity, 
had  it  been  their  ordinary  beverage,  quite  overset  them ;  and 


states  with  great  glee,  that  Mr.  Davis,  his  landlord,  who  could 
drink  his  seven  tumblers  of  whisky-punch,  and  go  to  bed  after- 
wards rather  dull  from  excessive  sobriety,  was  carried  up  stairs 
after  one  tumbler  of  the  new  composition,  decidedly  drunk.  We 
are  inclined  to  think,  however,  that  Mr.  Davis  had  been  talcing 
a  few  tumblers  of  whisky-punch  in  his  own  parlour  before  he 
went  up  stairs  to  qualify  himself  for  the  party,  and  that  the  suc- 
cess of  the  experiment  is  not  sufficiently  well  established  to 
justify  us  in  impressing  it  on  the  public  mind  without  the  addi- 
tion of  this  trifling  qualification. 



1806  to  1807. 

He  returns  to  town,  gets  frozen  to  the  roof  of  a  coach  on  the  road,  and  pays  his 
rent  twice  over  when  he  arrives  at  home — Mr.  Charles  Farley  —  His  first 
appearance  at  Coyent  Garden — Valentine  and  Orson — Production  of  "  Mother 
Goose,"  and  its  immense  success — The  mysterious  Adventure  of  the  Six 
Ladies  and  the  Six  Gentlemen. 

THEY  were  six  days  getting  back  to  London,  the  weather  being 
very  inclement,  and  the  travelling  very  indifferent.  Through  a 
mistake  of  the  booking-office  keeper,  Grimaldi  had  to  travel  the 
earlier  portion  of  the  road  from  Holyhead  outside  the  coach. 
The  cold  was  so  intense,  and  the  frost  so  severe,  that  he  actually 
got  frozen  to  his  seat ;  and  when  the  coach  arrived  at  Eed  Land- 
lord, it  was  with  some  difficulty  that  he  was  lifted  off,  and  con- 
veyed into  an  inn  in  a  complete  state  of  exhaustion  and  help- 
lessness. His  feet  were  bathed  in  brandy,  and  various  other 
powerful  stimulants  applied  with  the  view  of  restoring  suspended 
circulation,  but  several  hours  elapsed  before  he  recovered,  and 
it  was  not  until  the  following  morning  that  he  was  enabled  to 
resume  his  journey  towards  London,  where  he  at  length  arrived 
without  further  hindrance  or  accident. 

He  had  no  sooner  returned  to  town  than  an  unpleasant  cir- 
cumstance occurred,  as  if  in  especial  illustration  of  his  often- 
urged  remark,  that  he  never  had  a  sum  of  money  but  some  un- 
foreseen demand  was  made  upon  him,  or  some  extraordinary 
exigency  arose. 

He  had  been  one  morning  to  the  City  on  business,  and  was 
somewhat  amazed  on  his  return  to  find  a  broker  and  his 
assistant  in  the  best  parlour,  engaged  in  coolly  taking  an 
inventory  of  his  goods  and  chattels. 

"  What  on  earth  is  the  meaning  of  this  ?"  he  inquired. 

"  Only  an  execution  for  rent,"  replied  the  broker,  continuing 
his  instructions  to  his  amanuensis;  "Mirror  in  gilt  frame, 

The  tenant  replied  that  it  was  quite  impossible,  and  searching 
among  his  papers,  found  and  produced  the  receipt  for  his  rent. 

The  broker  looked  it  over  with  a  cheerful  smile,  and  then, 
with  many  legal  phrases,  proceeded  to  apprize  him  that  the 
landlord  himself  was  but  a  lessee,  and  that,  in  consequence  of 


bis  not  having  paid  his  rent,  the  head  landlord  had  determined 
to  seize  upon  whatever  property  was  found  upon  the  premises. 

Greatly  annoyed  at  this  information,  he  hurried  to  Mr. 
Hughes,  his  constant  adviser  in  all  difficulties,  to  consult  with 
him.  Having  narrated  the  affair,  Mr.  Hughes  asked  what  was 
the  amount  claimed. 

"Eighty-four  pounds." 

"  Well,  then,  J  oe,"  said  he,  "  you  must  pay  it,  or  lose  your 

Accordingly  he  returned  home  very  indignant,  and  handed 
over  the  specified  sum  to  the  broker,  who  said  nothing  could 
be  more  satisfactory,  and  walked  away  accompanied  by  his 

The  next  morning  the  landlord  came,  and  being  ushered  in, 
expressed  much  trouble  in  his  countenance,  and  said  that  he 
was  very  glad  to  see  Mr.  Grimaldi  and  such  a  fine  morning  to- 

"But  I  beg  your  pardon,"  he  added;  "I  don't  think  you 
know  me." 

Grimaldi  replied,  that  unless  he  was  the  gentleman  who  had 
imposed  upon  nim  the  necessity  of  paying  his  rent  twice  over, 
he  nad  not  the  pleasure  of  his  acquaintance.  At  which  remark 
the  landlord  assumed  a  very  penitent  and  disconsolate  visage, 
declared  his  sorrow  for  what  had  occurred,  and,  as  some  light 
reparation  for  the  loss  and  wrong,  proposed  to  assign  the  lease 
to  him.  Grimaldi  under  all  the  circumstances  was  extremely 
glad  to  accede  to  the  proposal,  and  cheerfully  paid  all  the  legal 
expenses  contingent  upon  the  transfer. 

The  upshot  of  the.  matter  was,  that,  a  very  short  time  after- 
wards, he  received  another  communication  from  the  same  land- 
lord, in  which  he  imparted  the  very  unexpected  fact,  that  either 
party  to  the  lease  had  a  discretionary  power  of  cancelling  it  at 
that  period  if  he  thought  proper,  and  that  he  intended  to  avail 
himself  of  the  clause,  unless  indeed  Mr.  Grimaldi  would  prefer 
retaining  the  house  at  an  advanced  rent,  which  he  was  at  liberty 
to  do  if  he  pleased.  An  inspection  of  the  deed  proved  but  too 
clearly  that  this  statement  was  correct:  so  the  eighty-four 
pounds  were  lost,  together  with  the  legal  charges  for  the  assign- 
ment of  the  lease  and  the  costs  of  the  execution ;  and  the  burder 
of  an  increased  rent  was  imposed  upon  the  unlucky  tenant  int  j 
the  bargain. 

His  old  articles  at  Sadler's  Wells  expiring  this  year,  he 
entered  into  a  fresh  engagement,  under  which  he  bound  himself 
to  that  theatre  for  three  years,  at  a  weekly  salary  of  twelve 
Bounds  and  two  clear  benefits.  The  pantomime  produced  at 
Easter  was  entitled,  "  Harlequin  and  the  Forty  Virgins,"  and 
proved  remarkab^  successful,  running  indeed  through  the 
whole  of  the  season.  In  this  piece  Jie  sang  a  song  called  "Me 
and  my  Neddy,"  which  afterwards  became  highly  popular  and 


•was  in  everybody's  mouth.  Several  presents  were  made  to  him 
by  admirers  of  his  performance,  and,  among  others,  a  very 
handsome  watch,  the  face  of  which  was  so  contrived  as  to  repre- 
sent a  portrait  of  himself  in  the  act  of  singing  the  romantic  ditty 
just  mentioned. 

All  this  season  the  pantomime  was  played  first,  which  arrange- 
ment released  him  at  half-past  eight  o'clock,  thus  affording  him 
an  opportunity,  which  he  enjoyed  for  the  first  time  in  his  life,  of 
"being  abroad  in  the  evening,  in  the  spring  and  summer  of  the 
year.  During  the  greater  portion  of  his  life  in  those  seasons,  he 
had  entered  Sadler's  Wells  every  night  at  six  o'clock,  and  re- 
mained there  until  twelve.  The  novelty  of  being  at  liberty 
before  it  was  yet  dark  was  so  great,  that  he  scarcely  knew  what 
to  do  with  himself,  sometimes  strolling  about  the  streets  in  per- 
fect astonishment  at  finding  himself  there,  and  then  turning 
home  in  pure  lack  of  employment. 

On  the  opening  of  Covent  Garden  Theatre  in  October,*  he 
became  first  acquainted  with  Mr.  Farley,  between  whom  and 
himself  a  very  warm  and  sincere  friendship  ever  after  existed. 
This  gentleman  inquired  in  what  character  he  would  wish,  to 
make  his  first  appearance.  He  mentioned  Scaramouch  in  "  Don 
Juan,"  which  had  been  one  of  his  most  successful  parts  at  the 
other  house ;  but  Mr.  Farley  suggested  Orson,  in  "  Valentine  and 
Orson,"  urging  that  the  drama,  which  had  not  been  acted  for 
several  years,  had  been  very  popular  with  the  town,  and  that 
Orson  was  a  character  well  suited  to  his  abilities,  in  which 
it  was  very  probable  he  would  make  a  great  hit.  Grimaldi 
at  once  consented  to  play  the  part,  merely  requesting  that  Mr. 
Farley  would  be  good  enough  to  give  him  some  instruction  in 
it,  as  he  had  never  seen  any  portion  of  the  piece,  and  was  at 
some  loss  how  to  study  the  character.  Mr.  Farley  readily 
agreed  to  do  so,  and  faithfully  kept  his  word. 

*  Covent  Garden  Theatre  commenced  the  season  of  1800-7,  on  September  15, 
with  Colman's  comedy  of  "  John  Bull,"  and  the  farce  of  the  "  Miser."  Mrs. 
Grimaldi  was,  on  September  22,  one  of  the  singing-women  in  the  Anthem,  sang 
in  Shakspeare's  play  of  "King  Henry  the  Eighth:"  Cardinal  Wolsey,  Mr. 
Kemble ;  Queen  Katharine,  Mrs,  Siddons.  She  was  also  on  October  6,  one  of 
the  choral-witches  in  Macbeth ;  and  on  the  8th  enacted  Dolly  Trull  in  the 
Beggar's  Opera :  a  part  in  which  she  appears  to  have  been  cast  on  all  future 
representations.  On  October  9,  not  the  10th,  Joe  made  his  debut  on  the  boards 
of  old  Covent  Garden,  as  Orson,  on  the  revival  of  Tom  Dibdin's  "  Valentine  and 
Orson."  Dubois  had,  on  its  previous  representation  at  that  theatre,  obtained 
unequivocal  applause  from  the  art  he  displayed  in  his  performance  of  Orson. 
Bologna,  jun.  also  made  his  first  appearance,  after  an  absence  of  two  years,  as  the 
"  Sorcerer  Agramant ;  or,  The  Green  Knight."  The  part  of  the  second  page 
in  this  piece,  introduced  to  the  stage  a  boy  named  Smalley,  with  a  surprising 
excellence  of  voice,  who,  by  some  kind  soul  was  rescued  from  wretchedness  and 
obscurity,  and  will  long  be  remembered  by  those  in  whose  recollection  the 
performance  of  "Mother  Goose"  remains.  "  The  Cabin  Boy,"  as  sung  by  him, 
was  lone  highly  popular ;  every  younker,  who  fancied  he  had  a  voice,  made  that 
ballad  the  object  of  his  execution.  It  was  warbled  by  men,  women,  and  children; 
aud  Grimaldi  obtained  great  applause  for  his  performance  of  Orson. 


It  has  been  sometimes  said,  and  indeed  stated  in  print,  that 
Grimaldi  was  a  pupil  and  copyist  of  Dubois.  No  greater  mistake 
can  be  made  :  if  he  can  be  said  to  have  been  the  pupil  of  anybody, 
Mr.  Farley  was  certainly  his  master,  as  he  not  only  took  infinite 
pains  to  instruct  him  in  the  character  of  Orson,  but  afterwards 
gave  him  very  valuable  advice  and  great  assistance  in  getting 
up  many  other  parts,  in  which  he  was  also  highly  successful. 

He  was  very  anxious  about  his  first  appearance  at  Covent 
Garden,  and  studied  Orson  with  great  assiduity  and  application 
for  some  time.  He  made  his  first  appearance  in  the  character 
on  the  10th  of  October,  1806,  Farley  playing  Valentine.  The 
piece,  which  was  received  with  most  decided  success,  was  acted 
nearly  every  night  until  the  production  of  the  pantomime  at 
Christmas  rendered  its  withdrawal  imperative. 

The  part  of  Orson  was  in  Grimaldi's  opinion  the  most  difficult 
he  ever  had  to  play ;  the  multitude  of  passions  requiring  to  be 
portrayed,  and  the  rapid  succession  in  which  it  was  necessary 
to  present  them  before  the  spectators,  involving  an  unusual 
share  both  of  mental  and  physical  exertion  upon  the  part 
of  the  performer.  He  played  this  character  both  in  town  and 
country  on  many  occasions,  but  the  effect  produced  upon  him  by 
the  exertions  of  the  last  scene  of  the  first  act  was  always  the 
same.  As  soon  as  the  act-drop  fell,  he  would  stagger  off  the 
stage  into  a  small  room  behind  the  prompter's  box,  and  there 
sinking  into  an  arm-chair,  give  full  vent  to  the  emotions  which 
he  found  it  impossible  to  suppress.  He  would  sob  and  cry  aloud, 
and  suffer  so  much  from  violent  and  agonizing  spasms,  that 
those  about  hiir^  accustomed  as  they  at  length  became  to  the 
distressing  scene,  were  very  often  in  doubt,  up  to  the  very  mo- 
ment of  his  being  "  called,"  whether  he  would  be  able  to  go 
upon  the  stage  for  the  second  act.  He  never  failed,  however ; 
extraordinary  as  his  sufferings  were,  his  fear  of  not  being  ready 
as  the  time  for  his  call  approached,  and  the  exertions  he  made 
to  conquer  those  painful  feelings,  invariably  enabled  him  to 
rally  at  the  necessary  time, — a  curious  instance  of  the  power  of 
habit  in  enabling  him  to  struggle  successfully  with  the  weak- 
nesses which  no  length  of  habit,  and  no  repetition  of  the  same 
part,  however  frequent,  were  sufficient  to  banish. 

The  effect  produced  on  the  audience  by  his  personation  of 
this  character  was  intense :  it  enhanced  his  reputation  greatly, 
bringing  him  before  the  public  in  quite  a  new  line.  The  compli- 
ments and  congratulations  which  he  received  from  persons  rank- 
ing  high  in  his  own  profession,  in  literature,  and  in  the  fine  arts, 
bore  high  testimony  to  the  merit  and  striking  character  of  this 
singular  performance. 

Preparations  now  began  to  be  made  for  the  production  of 
"Mother  Goose,"  destined  to  acquire  a  degree  of  popularity 
quite  unprecedented  in  the  history  of  pantomime,  and  to  occupy 
a  place  in  the  choicest  recollections  of  the  play-goers  of  the  time. 


At  Drury  Lane,  the  Management,  well  knowing  that  great 
preparations  were  making  at  Covent  Garden  for  the  production 
of  a  new  harlequinade  on  the  26th  of  December,  and  dreading 
the  advantage  they  had  gained  in  securing  Grimaldi,  hurried  on 
the  preparations  for  their  own  pantomime,  and  engaging  Mont- 
gomery, who  had  acquired  some  celebrity  at  the  Circus,  at  a 
high  salary,  to  play  Clown,  produced  their  pantomime  on  the 
23rd,  thus  gaining  an  advantage  of  three  days  over  the  other 
house.  The  piece,  however,  partook  infinitely  more  of  the 
character  of  a  spectacle  than  a  pantomime:  the  scenery  and 
tricks  were  good,  but  the  "business,"  as  it  is  technically  termed, 
was  so  wretched,  that  the  audience  began  to  hiss  before  it  was 
half  over,  and  eventually  grew  so  clamorous,  that  it  was  deemed 
prudent  to  drop  the  curtain,  long  before  the  intended  conclusion 
of  the  piece.  Grimaldi  and  his  friend  Bologna  were  present, 
and  were  very  far  from  regretting  this  failure.  Up  to  that  time 
Drury  Lane  had  always  been  more  successful  in  pantomime  than 
the  other  house ;  and  there  is  little  doubt,  that  the  production  of 
this  unsuccessful  but  very  splendid  piece,  three  days  before  the 
usual  time,  was  intended  not  merely  to  crush  the  pantomime  in 
preparation  at  Covent  Garden,  but  Grimaldi  too,  if  possible. 

They  had  a  night  rehearsal  of  "Mother  Goose"  on  the  ensuing 
evening,  and  the  performers  were  in  a  state  of  great  anxiety  ana 
uncertainty  as  to  its  fate.  It  had  always  been  the  custom  to 
render  a  pantomime  the  vehicle  for  the  display  of  gorgeous 
scenery  and  splendid  dresses ;  on  the  last  scene  especially,  the 
energies  of  every  person  in  the  theatre  connected  with  the  deco- 
ration of  the  stage  were  profusely  lavished,  the  great  question 
with  the  majority  of  the  town  being  which  pantomime  had  the 
finest  conclusion.  Mother  Goose  had  none  of  these  accessories  ;  it 
had  neither  gorgeous  processions,  nor  gaudy  banners,  nor 
splendid  scenery,  nor  showy  dresses.  There  was  not  even  a 
spangle  used  in  the  piece,  with  the  exception  of  those  which 
decked  the  Harlequin's  jacket,  and  even  they  would  have  been 
dispensed  with  but  _  for  Grimaldi's  advice.  The  last  scene  too 
was  as  plain  as  possible,  and  the  apprehensions  of  the  performers 
were  proportionately  rueful. 

But  all  these  doubts  were  speedily  set  at  rest ;  for  on  the  pro* 
duction  of  the  pantomime  on  the  26th  of  December,  1806,  it  was 
received  with  the  most  deafening  shouts  of  applause,  and  played 
for  ninety- two  nights,  being  the  whole  remainder  of  the  season. 
The  houses  it  drew  were  immense :  the  doors  were  no  sooner 
open  than  the  theatre  was  filled ;  and  every  time  it  was  played 
the  applause  seemed  more  uproarious  than  before— another 
instance  of  the  bad  judgment  of  actors  in  matters  appertaining 
to  their  craft.^  "She  stoops  to  conquer"  was  doomed  by  the 
actors  to  inevitable  failure  up  to  the  very  moment  when  the 
performances  commenced  (although  in  this  case  many  eminent 
literary  men  and  critics  of  the  time  held  the  same  opinion) ;  and 


"  The  Honey  Moon"  lay  neglected  on  the  manager's  shelf  for 
many  years,  it  being  considered  impossible  that  an  audience 
would  be  found  to  sit  out  its  representation. 

Grimaldi's  opinion  of  Mother  Goose— it  may  or  may  not  be 
another  instance  of  the  bad  judgment  of  actors — always  remained 
pretty  much  the  same,  notwithstanding  its  great  success.  He 
considered  the  pantomime,  as  a  whole,  a  very  indifferent  one,  and 
always  declared  his  own  part  to  be  one  of  the  worst  he  ever 
played ;  nor  was  there  a  trick  or  situation  in  the  piece  to  which 
he  had  not  been  well  accustomed  for  many  years  before.  How- 
ever this  may  be,  there  is  little  doubt  that  the  exertions  of 
Bologna  and  himself,  as  Harlequin  and  Clown,  contributed  in  a 
very  important  degree  to  the  success  of  the  piece ;  it  being 
worthy  of  remark,  that  whenever  the  pantomimelias  been  played 
without  the  original  Harlequin  and  Clown,  it  has  invariably  gone 
off  flatly,  and  generally  failed  to  draw. 

On  the  9th  of  June  he  took  a  benefit  in  conjunction  with 
Bologna,  upon  which  occasion  Mother  Goose  was  played  for  the 
eighty-second*  time.  The  receipts  amounted  to  679£.  18*. 

During  the  run  of  this  pantomime  he  fell  curiously  into  a  new 
and  mysterious  circle  of  acquaintance.  The  mystery  which  over- 
hung them,  the  manner  of  his  introduction,  their  style  of  living, 
and  his  subsequent  discovery  of  their  rank  and  title,  are  not  a 
little  curious. 

On  the  6th  of  January,  1807,  a  gentleman  called  at  his  house 
in  Baynes*  Row,  and  desiring  to  see  him  was  shown  into  the 
parlour.  In  this  person  he  was  surprised  to  recognise  his 
quondam  friend  Mackintosh  whp  owned  the  preserves.  He 
apologised  for  calling,  entered  into  conversation  with  great  ease, 
and  trusted  that  the  little  trick  he  had  played  in  mere  thought- 
lessness might  be  completely  forgiven.  Being  courteously  re- 
quested not  to  trouble  liiinself  by  referring  to  it,  Mr.  Mackintosh 
went  on  to  say,  that  his  mother  had  sold,  not  her  mangle,  but 
her  inn,  and  had  retired  to  a  distant  part  of  the  country  ;  while 
he  himself  having  attached  himself  to  business,  had  come  to 
reside  permanently  in  London,  and  had  taken  a  house  and  offices 
in  Throgmorton- street,  in  the  City. 

Mr.  Mackintosh's  appearance  was  extremely  smart,  his  man- 

*  On  the  night  of  the  joint  benefit  of  Grimaldi  and  Bologna,  June  9,  1807, 
Macklin's  "  Man  of  the  World,"  was  performed ;  Sir  Pertinax,  by  Mr.  Cooke ; 
anew  comic  ballet,  entitled  "Poor  Jack,"  Poor  Jack,  by  Mr.  Bologna,  jun. 
Joe  also  sang  Dibdin's  song  of  "  The  Country  Club,"  often  previously  sung  by 
him  at  Sadler's  Wells,  with  reiterated  plaudits.  The  evening's  entertainments 
concluded  with  "  Mother  Goose,"  for  the  eighty-eighth  time,  not  the  eighty- 

In  the  preceding  April,  on  the  16th,  was  produced  at  Covent  Garden,  for  the 
first  time,  a  grand  ballet  of  action,  entitled  "The  Ogre  and  Little  Thumb;  or, 
the  Seven  League  Boots ;"  Anthropophagos,  the  Ogre,  Mr.  Farley  :  Count 
Manfredi,  Mr.  Bologna,  jun.;  Scamperini,  the  Count's  Servant,  Mr.  Grimaldij 
Little  Thumb,  Miss  M.  Bristtw,  her  iirst  appearance. 



ners  were  greatly  improved,  and  altogether  he  had  acquired 
much  polish  and  refinement  since  the  days  of  the  chaise-cart  and 
the  fustian  jacket.  As,  notwithstanding  the  absurd  scrape  into 
which  he  had  led  his  guests,  he  had  treated  them  very  hospitably, 
Grimaldi  invited  him  to  dine  on  the  following  Sunday.  He 
came  in  due  course ;  his  conversation  was  jocose  and  amusing, 
and  becoming  a  favourite  at  the  house,  he  frequently  dined  or 
supped  there:  Grimaldi  and  his  wife  occasionally  doing  the 
same  with  him  in  Throgmorton-street,  where  he  had  a  very 
business-looking  establishment,  plainly  but  genteelly  furnished.. 

About  a  month  after  his  first  calling,  he  waited  upon  Grimaldi 
one  morning,  and  said  that  some  friends  of  _  his  residing  in 
Charlotte-street,  Eitzroy-square,  were  very  anxious  to  make  his 
acquaintance,  and  wished  much  for  his  company  at  supper  one 
evening  after  he  had  finished  at  the  theatre.  Grimaldi,  who  if 
he  had  accepted  all  the  invitations  he  received  at  this^  period 
would  have  had  very  little  time  for  his  profession,  parried  the 
request  for  some  time,  alleging  that  he  was  a  very  domestic 
person,  and  that  he  preferred  adhering  to  his  old  custom  of 
supping  at  home  with  his  wife  after  the  play.  Mackintosh, 
however,  urged  that  his  friends  were  very  wealthy  people,  that 
he  would  find  them  very  useful  and  profitable  acquaintances, 
and  by  these  and  a  thousand  other  persuasions,  overcame^  his 
disinclination  to  go.  He  consented,  and  an  evening  was  fixed 
for  the  visit. 

On  the  appointed  night,  as  soon  as  he  had  finished  at  the 
theatre,  he  called  a  coach  and  directed  the  driver  to  set  him 
down  at  the  address  which  Mackintosh  had  given  him.  The 
coach  stopped  before  a  very  large  house,  apparently  handsomely 
furnished,  and  brilliantly  lighted  up.  Not  having  any  idea  that 
the  man  could  possess  friends  who  lived  in  such  style,  he  at  first 
supposed  that  the  driver  had  made  a  mistake ;  but  while  they 
were  discussing  the  point,  Mackintosh,  elegantly  dressed,  darted 
out  of  the  passage,  and,  taking  his  arm,  conducted  him  into  a 
brilliant  supper-room. 

If  the  outside  of  the  house  had  given  him  cause  for  astonish- 
ment, its  internal  appearance  redoubled  his  surprise.  Every- 
thing was  on  a  scale  of  the  most  costly  splendour :  the  spacious 
rooms  were  elegantly  papered  and  ^  gilded,  elegant  chandeliers 
depended  from  the  ceilings,  the  richest  carpets  covered  the 
floors,  and  the  other  furniture,  too,  was  of  the  most  expensive 
description.  The  supper  comprised  a  choice  variety  of  luxuries, 
and  was  splendidly  served ;  the  costliest  wines  of  various  kinds 
and  vintages  sparkled  upon  the  table. 

There  were  just  twelve  persons  in  the  supper-room,  besides 
Mackintosh  and  himself1— to  wit,  six  ladies  and  six  gentlemen, 
who  ere  all  introduced  as  married  peopl  .  The  first  couple  to 
whom  he  was  introduced  were  of  course  the  host  and  hostess, 
Mr.  and  Mrs.  Farmer,  who  welcomed  him  with  enchanting 
urbanity  and  condescension.  Every  member  of  the  party  was 


Deautifully  dressed :  the  ladies  wore  jewellery  of  the  most  bril- 
liant description,  the  numerous  attendants  were  in  handsome 
liveries,  and  the  whole  scene  was  so  totally  different  from  any- 
thing he  had  anticipated  that  he  was  thoroughly  bewildered,  and 
actually  began  to  doubt  the  reality  of  what  he  saw.  The  polite- 
ness of  the  gentlemen,  and  the  graceful  ease  of  the  ladies,  how- 
ever, soon  restored  his  self-possession ;  while  the  delicious 
flavour  of  the  wines  and  dishes  convinced  him  that  with  respect 
to  that  part  of  the  business,  at  all  events,  he  was  labouring 
under  no  delusion. 

In  eating,  drinking,  singing,  and  story- telling,  the  night  wore 
on  till  past  five  o'clock,  when  he  was  at  length  suffered  to 
return  home.  A  recital  of  all  the  circumstances  astonished  his 
wife  not  a  little ;  and  he  was  quite  as  much  amazed  at  recol- 
lecting what  he  had  seen,  as  she  at  hearing  of  it. 

A  few  days  afterward,  Mackintosh  called  again;  hoped  he 
had  enjoyed  himself,  was  delighted  to  hear  he  had,  and  bore  an 
invitation  for  the  next  night. 

To  this  Grimaldi  urged  all  the  objections  he  had  before  men- 
tioned, and  added  to  them  an  expression  of  his  unwillingness 
to  leave  his  wife  at  home.  Mr.  Mackintosh,  with  great  fore- 
thought, had  mentioned  this  in  Charlotte-street ;  he  was  com- 
missioned to  invite  her,  Mrs.  Farmer  trusting  she  would  come  in 
a  friendly  way  and  excuse  the  formality  of  her  calling. 

Well,  there  was  no  resisting  this ;  so  Grimaldi  and  his  wife 
went  to  Charlotte -street  next  night,  and  there  were  the  rooms, 
and  the  six  ladies  and  the  six  gentlemen,  and  the  chandeliers, 
and  the  wax-lights,  and  the  liveries,  and,  what  was  more  to  the 
purpose  than  all,  the  supper,  all  over  again. 

There  were  several  other  parties  after  this ;  and  then  the  six 
ladies  and  the  six  gentlemen  would  come  and  see  Mr.  Grimaldi 
at  his  own  house, — whereat  Mrs.  Grimaldi  was  rather  vexed, 
inasmuch  as  they  had  not  one  quarter  so  many  spoons  as  the 
Charlotte-street  people,  and  no  chandeliers  at  all.  However, 
they  were  polite  enough  'to  say,  that  they  had  never  spent  a 
more  delightful  evening ;  and  as  they  talked  and  laughed  very 
much,  and  were  very  friendly  and  kind,  the  visit  passed  off  to 
the  admiration  of  all  parties. 

There  was  some  mystery  about  these  great  friends,  which  the 
worthy  couple  were  quite  unable  to  solve.  It  did  not  appear 
that  they  were  connected  by  any  other  ties  than  those  of  friend- 
ship, and  yet  they  were  always  together,  and  never  had  a 
stranger  among  them ;  there  were  always  the  same  six  ladies 
and  the  same  six  gentlemen,  the  only  change  being  in  their 
dresses,  which  varied  in  make  and  colour,  but  never  in  quality. 
Then  they  did  not  seem  to  be  in  any  business,  and  there  was  a 
something  in  the  politeness  of  the  gentlemen  and  the  jocoseness 
of  the  ladies  which  struck  them  as  rather  peculiar,  although 
they  could  never  tell  what  it  was.  Grimaldi  saw  that  they 



were  not  like  the  noblemen  and  gentlemen  he  was  in  the  habit 
of  meeting  in  the  green-rooms  of  the  theatres;  and  yet,  not- 
withstanding that  he  pondered  upon  the  matter  a  great  deal,  he 
could  not  for  the  life  of  him  discover  in  what  the  difference  con- 
sisted. His  wife  was  in  just  the  same  state  of  perplexity ;  but 
although  they  talked  the  matter  over  very  often,  they  never 
arrived  at  any  tangible  conclusion.  While  they  were  thinking 
about  it,  the  parties  kept  going  on,  and  January  and  February 
passed  away. 

On  the  13th  of  March  he  had  promised  to  act,  in  conjunction 
with  Messrs.  Bartley,  Simmons,  Chapman,  and  Louis  Bologna, 
at  the  Woolwich  Theatre,  for  the  benefit  of  Mr.  Lund.  Cha&eing 
to  mention  the  circumstance  at  one  of  the  Charlotte-street 
parties  a  few  days  before  the  time,  Mr.  Farmer  immediately 
proposed  that  he  and  the  other  five  gentlemen  should  accompany 
their  excellent  friend;  that  they  should  all  sup  together  at 
Woolwich  after  the  theatre  was  over,  and  return  to  town  next 
day.  This  was  immediately  agreed  to  by  all  the  party  except 
one  gentleman,  with  the  uncommon  name  of  Jones,  who  had 
an  appointment  with  a  nobleman,  which  it  was  impossible  to 

The  five  gentlemen  were  punctual,  and  they,  Mackintosh,  and 
Grimaldi,  started  together.  They  dined  at  Woolwich,  and 
afterwards  adjourned  to  the  theatre,  where  the  five  gentlemen 
and  Mackintosh  went  into  the  boxes,  and  Grimaldi  upon  the 
stage.  The  five  gentlemen  talked  very  loud,  and  applauded 
very  much ;  and  their  magnificent  appearance  created  quite  a 
sensation,  not  only  among  the  audience,  but  the  actors  also. 
They  supped  together  at  the  hotel  at  which  they  had  dined : 
slept  there,  and  returned  to  town  next  day ;  Mr.  Farmer  and 
the  four  gentlemen  coming  home  in  a  barouche ;  Mackintosh, 
Grimaldi,  and  some  other  professional  persons  preferring  to 
walk,  for  the  benefit  of  the  exercise. 

Upon  the  way,  Grimaldi  sounded  Mackintosh  relative  to  the 
professions,  connexions,  and  prospects  of  his  friends ;  but  he 
evaded  making  any  reply,  further  than  by  observing,  with  an 
air  of  great  respect,  that  they  were  very  wealthy  people.  He 
dined  in  Throgmorton- street  a  few  days  afterwards,  and  again 
tried  to  penetrate  the  mystery,  as  did  his  wife,  who  accompanied 
him.  Mr.  Mackintosh  threw  no  light  upon  it,  but  it  was 
destined  to  be  shortly  revealed,  as  the  next  chapter  will  show. 




The  mystery  is  cleared  up,  chiefly  through  the  instrumentality  of  Mr.  Alderman 
Harmer ;  and  the  characters  of  the  six  Ladies  and  the  six  Gentlemen  are 
satisfactorily  explained.  The  Trial  of  Mackintosh  for  Burglary— Its  result.  * 

ABOUT  three  weeks  had  elapsed  since  the  last  dinner  in.Throg- 
morton- street,  during  the  whole  of  which  time  nothing  had 
been  seen  or  heard  either  of  the  six  ladies  or  of  the  six  gentle- 
men, when,  as  Grimaldi  was  sitting  reading  in  his  parlour,  a 
strange  gentleman  was  shown  into  the  room.  As  he  was  accus- 
tomed to  be  waited  upon  by  many  people  of  whom  he  knew 
nothing,  he  requested  the  gentleman  to  take  a  chair,  and  after  a 
few  commonplace  remarks  upon  the  weather  and  the  papers, 
begged  to  ask  his  business  with  him. 

"Why,  my  business  with  you,  Mr.  Grimaldi,"  said  the 
stranger,  putting  down  his  hat,  as  if  he  had  come  to  stop  a  long 
time,  "  is  of  a  very  peculiar  nature.  Perhaps  I  had  better  com- 
mence by  telling  you  who  I  am.  My  name  is  Harmer." 

"  Harmer?"  said  Grimaldi,  running  over  in  his  mind  all  the 
theatrical  names  he  had  ever  heard. 

"  Mr.  James  Harmer,  of  Hatton  Garden.  The  reason  of  my 
waiting  upon  you  is  this, — I  wish  to  speak  to  you  upon  a  very 
disagreeable  affair." 

There  was  a  peculiar  solemnity  in  the  visitor's  manner, 
although  it  was  very  gentlemanly  and  quiet,  which  at  once 
threw  Grimaldi  into  a  state  of  great  nervous  excitement.  He 
entreated  him,  with  a  very  disturbed  countenance,  to  be  kind 
enough  to  explain  the  nature  of  the  communication  he  had  to 
make,  as  explicitly  as  he  could. 

"  To  come,  then,  at  once  to  the  point,"  said  Mr.  Harmer, — 
"  do  you  not  know  a  person  of  the  name  of  Mackintosh  ?" 

"  Yes,  certainly,"  replied  Grimaldi,  his  thoughts  flying  off  at 
a  tangent,  first  to  Throgmorton-street,  and  then  to  the  ladies 
and  gentlemen  in  Charlotte-street — "  oh  yes,  I  know  him." 

"  lie  is  now,"  said  Mr.  Harmer,  solemnly,  "  in  great  danger 
of  losing  his  life." 

Grimaldi  at  once  supposed  his  visitor  was  a  doctor, — said  he 
was  very  sorry  to  hear  it,  asked  how  long  he  had  been  ill,  and 
begged  to  know  what  was  the  matter  with  him. 


"  His  bodily  health  is  good  enough,"  replied  Mr.  Harmer, 
with  a  half- smile.  "  In  the  course  of  my  professional  career, 
Mr.  Grimaldi,  I  have  known  many  men  in  imminent  danger  of 
losing  their  lives,  who  have  been  in  most  robust  health." 

Grimaldi  bowed  his  head,  and  presumed  his  visitor  referred  to 
cases  in  which  the  patient  had  gone  off  suddenly.  Mr.  Harmer 
said  that  he  certainly  did,  and  that  he  had  strong  reason  to 
fear  Mr.  Mackintosh  would  go  off  one  morning  very  suddenly 

"  I  greatly  regret  to  hear  it,"  said  the  other.  "  But  pray  tell 
me  his  condition  without  reserve  :  you  may  safely  be  communi- 
cative to  me.  What  is  the  nature  of  the  disorder  ?  what  is  it 

"  Burglary,"  answered  Mr.  Harmer,  quaintly. 

"Burglary!"  exclaimed  Grimaldi,  trembling  from  head  to 

"  Nothing  less,"  replied  Mr.  Harmer.  "  The  state  of  the  case, 
Mr.  Grimaldi,  is  simply  this  :  Mackintosh  is  accused  of  having 
committed  a  burglary  at  Congleton,  in  Cheshire.  I  am  a  soli- 
citor, and  am  engaged  on  his  behalf;  the  evidence  against  him 
is  very  strong,  and  if  he  be  found  guilty,  which  I  must  say  ap- 
pears to  me  extremely  likely,  he  will  most  infallibly  be  hanged." 

This  intelligence  so  amazed  Grimaldi,  tnat  he  fell  into  a  chair 
as  if  he  had  been  shot,  and  it  was  some  little  time  before  he 
was  sufficiently  recovered  to  resume  the  conversation.  The 
moment  he  could  do  so,  he  hastened  to  explain  that  he  had  never 
supposed  Mackintosh  to  be  other  than  an  honest  man,  or  he 
would  carefully  have  shunned  all  acquaintance  with  him. 

"  He  has  been  anything  but  an  honest  man  for  a  long  time 
past,"  said  Mr.  Harmer :  "  still,  I  may  say  that  he  is  anxious 
to  reform ;  and  at  all  events,  I  am  certain  that  this  particular 
robbery  was  not  committed  by  him." 

"  Good  God !  and  he  still  likely  to  be  hung  for  it ! " 

"  Certain,"  said  Mr.  Harmer  ;  "  unless  we  can  prove  an  alibi. 
There  is  only  one  man  who  has  it  in  his  power  to  do  so  ;  and 
that  man,  Mr.  Grimaldi,  is  yourself." 

"  Then,"  said  Mr.  Grimaldi,  "  you  may  command  me." 

In  a  lengthened  and,  to  him,  very  interesting  conversation 
which  ensued,  he  learned  that  the  robbery  had  been  committed 
on  the  13th  of  March,  on  the  very  night  on  which  he  had 
played  for  Lund's  benefit  at  Woolwich,  and  afterwards  supped 
with  Mackintosh  and  his  friends.  This  accidental  circumstance 
was  of  course  of  the  last  importance  to  Mr.  Harmer' s  client,  and 
that  gentleman  receiving  a  promise  from  Grimaldi  that  he  would, 
make  an  affidavit  of  the  fact,  if  required,  wished  him  a  good 
morning  and  left  him. 

Mackintosh  being  admitted  to  bail  a  few  days  afterwards, 
called  upon  Grimaldi  to  express  his  gratitude  for  the  readiness 


with  which  he  had  consented  to  give  his  important  evidence. 
The  insight  into  the  man's  character  which  Mr.  Harmer  had 
given  him,  rendered  him  of  course  desirous  to  be  as  little  in  his 
company  as  possible  ;  but  as  his  kind  nature  would  not  allow 
him  to  wound  his  feelings  more  than  was  absolutely  necessary 
in  this  interview  (quite  voluntary  on  his  part),  immediately 
after  the  exposure,  and  as  he  was  moreover  very  desirous  to  put 
a  few  questions  to  him  concerning  the  twelve  ladies  and  gentle- 
men, he  dissembled  his  dislike,  and  placed  some  refreshment 
before  him,  of  which  he  partook.  He  then  said, 

"  Mr.  Mackintosh,  I  cannot  suppose  you  to  be  guilty  of  any 
act  of  this  kind,  for  you  have  so  many  circumstances  in  your 
favour.  Putting  myself  out  of  the  question, — I  am  merely  an 
actor,  working  for  my  subsistence, — you  can  call,  to  prove  your 
alibi,  gentlemen  of  station  and  undoubted  respectability.  Mr. 
Farmer  and  his  friends,  for  instance,  could  not  fail  to  have  great 
weight  with  the  court." 

A  very  perceptible  change  overspread  the  countenance  of  Mr. 
Mackintosh  when  he  heard  these  words.  He  shook  his  head 
with  great  vehemence,  and  looked  strongly  disposed  to  laugh 
Grimaldi,  who  was  one  of  the  simplest  creatures  in  all  worldly 
matters  that  ever  breathed,  paused  for  a  reply,  but  finding  his 
acquaintance  said  nothing,  added, 

"Besides, — the  ladies.  Dear  me,  Mr.  Mackintosh,  the  ap- 
pearance of  those  gentlemen's  wives  would  be  almost  enough  to 
acquit  you  at  once." 

"  Mr.  Grimaldi,"  said  Mackintosh,  with  a  slight  tremor  in 
his  voice  which,  despite  his  serious  situation,  arose  from  an 
incipient  tendency  to  laughter, — "Mr.  Grimaldi,  none  of  those 
women  are  married." 

Grimaldi  stared  incredulously. 

"Not  one,"  said  Mackintosh:  "they  only  pass  for  married 
people — they  are  not  really  so." 

1  Then  how,"  said  Grimaldi,  waxing  very  angry,  "  how  dared 
you  to  invite  my  wife  among  them,  and  induce  me  to  take  her 

"  I'm  very  sorry,  sir,"  said  the  man,  humbly. 

" I'll  tell  you  what,  sir,"  interposed  the  other,  "I'll  be  put 
off  no  longer :  this  is  not  the  time  for  secrecy  and  falsehood,  nor 
is  it  your  interest  to  tell  me  anything  but  the  truth.  Now,  I 
demand  to  know  at  once  the  real  characters  of  these  people,  and 
why  you  shook  your  head  when  I  mentioned  your  bringing 
them  forward  as  witnesses." 

"  Mr.  Grimaldi,"  replied  the  man,  with  great  apparent  humi- 
lity, "  they  would  not  come  if  they  were  sent  for ;  and  besides, 
if  they  did,  it  would  injure,  not  assist  me,  for  they  are  all 
marked  men." 

"Marked  men!"  exclaimed  Grimaldi. 


"  Too  true,  sir/'  said  Mackintosh ;  "  desperate  characters 
every  one." 

"  What !  Farmer  r" 

"  He  was  sentenced  to  death  at  the  Old  Bailey,  and  got  a 
reprieve  while  standing  on  the  drop  beneath  the  gallows." 
'And  Williams?" 

'  Williams  is  a  forger  of  notes." 

'  And  Jesson  ?" 

'He  and  Barber  are  both  burglars." 

'  And  the  Jewish-looking  man, — I  forget  the  rascal's  name, — 
the  man  who  sings  Kelly's  songs ;  what  is  he  r" 

"  Oh,  he  helps  to  pass  the  forged  notes,  and  has  been  three 
times  in  the  pillory." 

"  There  is  one  other  man  whom  I  have  not  named— that  fel- 
low Jones  ;  what  is  he  ?  a  murderer  r" 

"No>  sir,  only  a  burglar,"  answered  Mackintosh.  "Don't 
you  recollect,  Mr.  Grimaldi,  that  he  would  not  join  the  party  to 
Woolwich  ?" 

"  Perfectly  well." 

"  Well,  sir,  the  truth  is,  he  left  town  for  Cheshire  the  .same 
day  the  party  was  proposed,  and  he  is  the  man  who  actually 
committed  the  deed  I  am  charged  with.  He  did  the  robbery. 
I  found  it  out  only  to-day ;  but,  though  I  know  it,  I  can't  prove 
it  now  : — and  all  those  people  in  Charlotte- street  are  doing  their 
best  to  get  me  found  guilty,  and  save  the  real  man,  who  is  better 
liked  among  them  than  I  am." 

The  enumeration  of  all  these  crimes,  the  reflection  of  having 
been  intimately  associated  with  such  wretches,  and  the  fear  of 
having  his  innocence  confounded  with  their  guilt,  ^uite  over- 
wnelmed  their  unfortunate  victim.  He  was  thoroughly  stupi- 
fied  for  some  minutes,  and  then,  starting  up  with  uncontrollable 
fury,  seized  the  man  by  the  thrpat^  and  demanded  how  he  durst 
take  him  among  such  a  horde  of  villains,  under  pretence  of 
being  his  friend.  Mackintosh,  alarmed  at  this  unexpected  ebul- 
lition of  resentment,  fell  on  his  knees  before  him  in  the  most 
abject  manner,  and  poured  forth  many  entreaties  for  mercy,  and 
protestations  of  regret. 

"  Answer  me  one  question,"  said  Grimaldi,  releasing  his  hold ; 
"  give  me  a  plain  and  straightforward  answer,  for  it's  only  by 
telling  me  the  truth  now,  that  you  can  hope  for  any  leniency  at 
my  hands.  What  was  your  motive  for  taking  me  into  the 
company  of  these  men  and  women,  and  why  did  they  want  to 
have  me  among  them  ?" 

"  I'll  tell  you  the  truth,  by  God !"  replied  Mackintosh,  "  and 
without  the  smallest  attempt  at  disguise.  They  thought  you 
must  be  very  good  company,  and  hearing  me  say  that  I  knew 
you,  gave  me  no  rest  until  I  consented  to  take  you  to  the  house 
in  Charlotte-street ;  which  I  at  last  agreed  to  do,  stipulating, 


upon  my  soul,  that  no  harm  should  ever  be  done  you,  and  that 
their  real  characters  should  be  carefully  concealed.  You  turned 
out  as  they  expected ;  they  were  very  much  delighted  with  your 
songs  and  stories,  and  I  was  obliged  to  promise  to  bring  you 
again.  And  that's  the  truth." 

^  Although  this  explanation  relieved  him  from  some  very  ter- 
rible fears  relative  to  the  motives  of  these  persons  in  seeking 
his  companionship,  it  was  a  very  galling  reflection  to  have  been 
playing  the  jester  to  a  gang  of  robbers  and  vagabonds  ;  and  ast 
it  presented  itself  to  his  mind,  it  drove  him  almost  mad  with* 
rage.^  Never  accustomed  to  give  way  to  his  passions,  the  fit  of 
fury  into  which  he  had  worked  himself  was  such  that  it  was 
many  hours  before  he  recovered  from  its  effects.  Mr.  Mackintosh, 
with  much  wisdom,  took  himself  off  the  moment  his  confession 
was  concluded. 

About  a  week  after  this  agreeable  visit,  Grimaldi  was  sitting 
at  breakfast  one  morning,  when  his  servant  announced  a  lady, 
and  in  walked — as  he  sat  paralysed  with  surprise — no  less  a 
person  than  Mrs.  Farmer,  who,  sitting  down  with  great  com- 
posure and  freedom,  said,  when  the  servant  had  left  the  room, 

"Well,  Grim,  here's  Jack  Mackintosh  has  got  himself  into  s 
pretty  hobble,  hasn't  he  r" 

"He  has  indeed,"  said  Grim,  all  abroad  with  amazement 
"  and  I  am  very  sorry  for  it." 

"  Lord !  you  don't  mean  that !"  returned  the  lady :  "  I'u 
sure  it's  more  than  I  am.  Of  course,  it's  everybody's  turn  on- 
time  ;  and  Jack's  had  a  very  long  string." 

It  being  now  thoroughly  evident  that  the  party,  deeming 
longer  concealment  ^hopeless,  wished  to  treat  Grimaldi  as  one  of 
themselves,  and  to  imply  that  he  had  been  acquainted  with  their 
real  characters  all  along,  he  resolved  to  act  decidedly ;  so,  the 
moment  the  lady  had  finished  speaking,  said, 

"  By  some  extraordinary  mistake  and  blindness  I  have  been 
led  into  the  society  of  yourself  and  your  associates,  ma'am.  I 
regret  this  bitte .  'j  for  many  reasons,  but  for  two  especially  : 
first,  that  I  should  ever  have  had  acquaintance  with  such  cha- 
racters ;  and  secondly,  that  it  compels  me  to  act  with  apparent 
harshness  to  a  woman.  As  I  have  no  other  course  to  pursue, 
however,  I  beg  you  will  have  the  goodness  to  tell  the  ladies  and 
gentlemen  whom  I  have  had  the  unhappiness  to  meet  in  Char- 
lotte-street, that  I  request  them  never  to  show  their  faces  here ; 
and  that  I  wish  never  to  see,  and  certainly  shall  never  speak  to 
any  of  them  again." 

Ihe  servant  entering  the  room  at  this  point,  in  reply  to  the 
summons  he  had  previously  given,  he  continued, 

"  As  soon  as  this  person  has  rested  herself  after  her  walk,  show 
her  to  the  door  ;  and  take  care  that  you  never  admit  her,  or  any 
of  the  people  who  have  been  in  the  habit  of  coming  here  with 


her,  into  the  house  again."  With  these  words  he  quitted  the 
room,  as  did  the  "lady"  immediately  afterwards;  and  well 
pleased  he  was  to  be  rid  of  her  society. 

Sadler's  "Wells  opened  the  season  of  1807  with  a  new  piece, 
called  the  "  Ogre,"  in  which  he  enacted  a  character  dignified 
by  the  name  of  "  Scamperino."  This  drama  was  not  very  suc- 
cessful, lingering  only  through  ten  nights ;  but  as  he  was 
wanted  of  course  in  something  else,  and  had  every  night  to 
hurry  to  Covent  Garden  afterwards,  to  play  the  clown  in 
"  Mother  Goose,"  which  was  still  running  with  unabated  spirit, 
he  endured  very  great  fatigue  for  more  than  three  months, 
during  which  the  two  theatres  were  open  together.* 

In  the  July  of  this  year  a  very  extraordinary  circumstance 
occurred  at  Sadler's  "Wells,  which  was  the  great  topic  of  con- 
versation in  the  neighbourhood  for  some  time  afterwards.  It 
happened  thus  : — 

Captain  George  Harris,  of  the  Eoyal  iNavy,  who  was  related 
to  the  Mr.  Harris  of  Covent  Garden,  and  with  whom  Grimaldi 
was  slightly  acquainted,  had  recently  returned  to  England  after 
i  long  voyage.  The  crew  being  paid  off,  many  of  the  men 
followed  their  commander  up  to  London,  and  proceeded  to  enjoy 
themselves  after  the  usual  fashion  of  sailors.  Sadler's  "Wells 
was  at  that  time  a  famous  place  of  resort  with  the  blue-jackets, 
the  gallery  being  sometimes  almost  solely  occupied  by  seamen 
and  their  female  companions.  A  large  body  of  Capt.  Harris's 
aien  resorted  hither  one  night,  and  amongst  them  a  man  who 
was  deaf  and  dumb,_  and  had  been  so  for  many  years.  This 
man  was  placed  by  his  shipmates  in  the  front  row  of  the  gallery. 
Grrimaldi  was  in  great  force  that  night,  and,  although  the  au- 
lience  were  in  one  roar  of  laughter,  nobody  appeared  to  enjoy 
lis  fun  and  humour  more  than  this  poor  fellow.  His  companions 
rood-naturedly  took  a  good  deal  of  notice  of  him,  and  one  of 
;hem,  who  talked  very  well  with  his  fingers,  inquired  how  he 
iked  the  entertainments ;  to  which  the  deaf  and  dumb  man 
•eplied,  through  the  same  medium,  and  with  various  gestures 
of  great  delight,  that  he  had  never  seen  anything  half  so  comical 
'  4s  the  scene  progressed,  Grimaldi's  tricks  and  jokes  became 

*  Sadler's  Wells  opened  the  season  of  1807  on  Easter  Monday,  March  30th, 
with  a  new  pantomime,  entitled  "Jan  Ben  Jan,  or  Harlequin  and  the  Forty 
Virgins."  Kidgway  made  his  first  appearance  as  Harlequin,  Bologna,  jun., 
having  seceded  from  the  theatre.  Among  other  debutants  on  that  night,  was 
Pyne,  the  singer,  as  also  Mrs.  M'Cartney,  who  subsequently  became  Mrs.  Pyne. 
Grimaldi,  as  usual,  was  clown  in  the  pantomime,  which  had  a  long  and  suc- 
cessful run.  In  the  scene  of  the  interior  of  Pidcock's  menagerie,  at  Exeter 
'Change,  he  spoke  and  sang  "  The  Exhibitor's  Chant,"  which  became  highly 
popular.  The  journalists  of  that  time  were  of  one  accord;  the  inimitable 
drolleries  of  the  clown  were  the  principal  cause  of  the  crowded  lobbies  and  the 
scarcely  standing  room  on  every  night  of  the  performance. 


still  more  irresistible ;  and  at  length,  after  a  violent  peal  of 
laughter  and  applause  which  quite  shook  the  theatre,  and  in 
which  the  dumb  man  joined  most  heartily,  he  suddenly  turned 
to  his  mate,  who  sat  next  to  him,  and  cried  out  with  much  glee, 
"  What  a  d d  funny  fellow  !" 

"  Why,  Jack,"  shouted  the  other  man,  starting  back  with 
great  surprise  :  "  can  you  speak  ?" 

"Speak!"  returned  the  other;  "ay,  that  I  can,  and  hear, 

Upon  this  the  whole  party,  of  course,  gave  three  vehement 
cheers,  and  at  the  conclusion  of  the  piece  adjourned  in  a  great 
procession  to  the  "  Sir  Hugh  Middleton,"  hard  by,  with  the 
recovered  man,  elevated  on  the  shoulders  of  half  a  dozen  friends, 
in  the  centre.  A  crowd  of  people  quickly  assembled  round  the 
door,  and  great  excitement  and  curiosity  were  occasioned  as  the 
intelligence  ran  from  mouth  to  mouth,  that  a  deaf  and  dumb 
man  had  come  to  speak  and  hear,  all  owing  to  the  cleverness  of 
Joey  Grimaldi. 

The  landlady  of  the  tavern,  thinking  Grimaldi  would  like  to 
see  his  patient,  told  the  man,  that,  if  he  would  call  next  morn- 
ing, he  should  see  the  actor  who  had  made  him  laugh  so  much. 
Grimaldi,  being  apprised  of  the  circumstance,  repaired  to  the 
house  at  the  appointed  time,  and  saw  him,  accompanied  by 
several  of  his  companions,  all  of  whom  still  continued  to  manifest 
the  liveliest  interest  in  the  sudden  change  that  had  happened  to 
their  friend,  and  kept  on  cheering,  and  drinking,  and  treating 
everybody  in  the  house,  in  proof  of  their  gratification.  The 
man,  who  appeared  an  intelligent  well-behaved  fellow,  said, 
that  in  the  early  part  of  his  life  he  could  both  speak  and  hear 
very  well ;  and  that  he  had  attributed  his  deprivation  of  the 
two  senses  to  the  intense  heat  of  the  sun  in  the  quarter  of  the 
world  to  which  he  had  been,  and  from  which  he  had  very  re- 
cently returned.  He  added,  that  on  the  previous  evening  he 
had  for  a  long  time  felt  a  powerful  anxiety  to  express  his  delight 
at  what  was  passing  on  the  stage ;  and  that,  after  some  feat 
of  Grimaldi' s  which  struck  him  as  being  particularly  amusing, 
he  had  made  a  strong  effort  to  deliver  his  thoughts,  in  which, 
to  his  own  great  astonishment,  no  less  than  that  of  his  com- 
rades,  he  succeeded.  Mr.  Charles  Dibdin,  who  was  present, 
put  several  questions  to  the  man;  and,  from  his  answers,  it 
appeared  to  every  one  present,  that  he  was  speaking  the  truth. 
Indeed,  his  story  was  in  some  measure  confirmed  by  Captain 
Harris  himself;  for  one  evening,  about  six  months  afterwards, 
as  Grimaldi  was  narrating  the  circumstance  in  the  green-room 
at  Covent  Garden,  that  gentleman,  who  chanced  to  be  present, 
immediately  remarked  that  he  had  no  reason,  from  the  man's 
behaviour  while  with  him,  to  suppose  him  an  impostor,  and 
that  he  had  seen  him  on  that  day  in  the  full  possession  of  all 
his  senses. 


In  the  month,  of  August  following  this  circumstance,  Grimaldi 
received  a  subpoena  to  attend  the  trial  of  Mackintosh,  at 
Stafford.  He  immediately  gave  notice  to  the  manager  of 
Sadler's  Wells,  that  he  was  compelled  to  absent  himself  for  a 
few  days,  and  Bradbury,  of  the  Circus,  was  engaged  to  supply 
his  place.  Mr.  Harmer  and  himself  went  down  together ;  and 
on  the  day  following  their  arrival,  a  true  bill  having  been 
found  against  Mackintosh  by  the  grand  jury,  the  trial  came 

Grimaldi  forgets  the  name  of  the  prosecutor's  counsel,*  and 
regrets  the  circumstance  very  much,  observing' that  the  length- 
ened notice  which  he  bestowed  upon  him  ought  to  have  im- 
pressed his  name  on  his  memory.  _  If  this  notice  were  nattering 
on  account  of  its  length,  it  certainly  was  not  so_  in  any  other 
respect ;  inasmuch  as  the  gentleman  in  question,  in  the  exercise 
of  that  licence  which  many  practitioners  unaccustomed  to  briefs 
assume,  was  pleased  to  designate  the  principal  witness  for  the 
prisoner,  to  wit,  Mr.  Joseph  Grimaldi,  as  a  common  player,  a 
mountebank- stroller,  a  man  reared  in  and  ever  accustomed  to 
vice  in  its  most  repulsive  and  degrading  forms — a  man  who  was 
necessarily  a  systematic  liar— and,  in  tine,  a  man  upon  whose 
word  or  oath^no  thinking  person  could  place  any  reliance. 

During  this  exordium,  and  pending  the  logical  deductions  of 
the  ingenious  gentleman  whose  name  is  unhappily  lost  to  his 
country,  the  prisoner  eyed  his  witness  with  intense  anxiety, 
fearing,  no  doubt,  that  in  his  examination,  either  by  angry 
words,  or  by  attempting  to  retort  on  the  counsel,  or  by  volun- 
teering jokes,  or  by  seeking  revenge  upon  himself,  against  whom 
he  had  such  just  ground  of  complaint,  he  might  pass  the  rope 
round  his  neck,  instead  of  serving  his  cause  ;  but  his  fears  were 
needless.  His  witness  had  gone  there  to  discharge  what  he 
considered  a  solemn  duty ;  and,  apart  from  all  personal  consi- 
derations, to  give  his,  honest  testimony  in  a  case  involving  a 
man's  life  and  death.  He  went  there,  of  course,  prepared  to 
give  his  evidence  in  the  manner  best  befitting  himself  and  the 
occasion ;  and,  if  he  wanted  any  additional  incentive  to  caution 
and  coolness,  he  would  have  found  it  in  the  taunts  of  the 
opposing  counsel,  which  naturally  made  him  desirous  to  show, 
by  his  behaviour,  that  the  same  man  who  could  play  the  clown 
upon  a  public  stage  could  conduct  himself  with  perfect  propriety 
as  a  private  individual — in  the  same  way  as  many  young 
gentlemen,  who  are  offensive  in  wigs,  become  harmless  and 
obscure  in  social  life. 

No  fewer  than  nine  witnesses  were  examined  for  the  prosecu- 
tion, all  of  whom,  to  Grimaldi' s  astonishment  and  horror,  swore 
positively  to  the  identity  of  the  prisoner.  The  case  for  the  pro- 
secution being  closed,  he  was  immediately  put  into  the  box,  for 

*  The  late  Mr.  Dauncey. 


the  defence  ;  when,  after  stating  that  the  prisoner  was  in  his 
company  at  Woolwich,  at  the  time  of  the  commission  of  the 
burglary,  he  proceeded  to  detail  as  briefly  as  he  could  all  that 
had  happened  on  the  day  and  night  in  question.  He  carefully 
suppressed  any  extraneous  matter  that  related  to  himself  or  his 
own  feelings,  which  might  have  been  injurious  to  the  prisoner, 
and  produced  the  playbill  of  the  night,  to  prove  that  there  could 
be  no  mistake  respecting  the  date.  He  was  then  submitted  to  a 
very  long  and  vexatious  cross-examination,  but  he  never  lost 
his  temper  for  an  instant,  or  faltered  in  his  testimony  in  any 
way  ;  and  at  its  conclusion  he  was  well  rewarded  for  his  goou. 
feeling  and  impartiality,  by  the  highly  flattering  terms  in  which 
the  presiding  judge  was  pleased  to  express  his  opinion  of  the 
manner  in  which  he  had  conducted  himself.* 

His  wife  was  the  next  witness  called,  and  she  fully  corrobo- 
rated his  evidence.  Two  more  witnesses  were  examined  on  the 
same  side,  when  the  judge  interposed,  putting  it  to  the  jury 
whether  they  really  deemed  it  necessary  to  hear  any  further  evi- 
dence, and  not  hesitating  to  say  that  the  full  conviction  on  his  own 
mind  was,  that  the  witnesses  for  the  prosecution  were  mistaken, 
and  that  the  prisoner  at  the  bar  was  innocent  of  the  offence  laid 
to  his  charge.  The  jury  fully  coincided  in  the  learned  judge's 
opinion,  and  immediately  returned  a  verdict  of  "Not  guilty," 
after  a  trial  which  had  already  lasted  for  upwards  of  nine 

Previous  to  his  return  to  town,  on  the  following  morning, 
Grimaldi  sought  and  obtained  a  few  minutes'  private  conversa- 
tion with  Mackintosh.  In  this  interview,  he  used  his  utmost 
endeavours  to  awaken  his  mind  to  a  sense  of  his  situation,  to 
induce  him  to  reflect  on  the  crimes  he  had  committed,  and  to 
place  before  him  the  inevitable  consequences  of  his  career  if  he 
held  the  same  course  ;  by  all  of  which  remonstrances  the  man 
appeared  much  affected,  and  for  which  he  expressed  himself 
very  grateful.  It  was  scarcely  necessary  for  Grimaldi  to  add, 
that  any  communication  between  them  must  be  discontinued  for 
the  future  ;  but,  lest  his  true  repentance  might  be  endangered 
by  the  loss  of  the  only  friend  he  seemed  to  have,  he  gave  him 
permission  to  write  to  him  if  he  ever  needed  his  assistance,  and 

*  The  gentleman  who  first  revised  Grimaldi's  reminiscences  adds  the  following 
note  in  this  stage  of  the  Memoirs  :  "  That  Mr.  Grimaldi  has  not  unworthily 
commended  his  own  conduct  in  this  instance,  no  one  who  has  heard  him  speak 
in  public  wilrbe  disposed  to  believe.  His  manner  was  always  that  of  a  man 
Who,  while  he  entertained  a  just  respect  for  himself,  properly  respected  the  parties 
to  whom  he  addressed  himself.  This  was  strikingly  exemplified  whenever,  in  con- 
sequence of  the  sudden  illness  of  a  performer,  or  some  other  stage  mishap,  an 
apology  became  necessary;  on  which  occasions  he  would  step  forward,  and  an- 
nouncing  the  calamity,  claim  the  kindness  of  the  audience  with  so  much  gen- 
tlemanly  ease,  and  such  an  entire  absence  of  all  buffoonery  or  grimace,  that,  in 
spite  of  his  grotesque  dress  and  appearance,  and  the  associations  which  they 
necessarily  awakened,  the  audience  forgot  the  clown,  and  only  remembered  thi 


assured  him  that  if  it  were  in  his  power  to  relieve  him,  the 
appeal  should  never  he  made  in  vain.  It  says  something  for 
the  honour  of  human  nature  and  the  sincerity  of  the  man's 
repentance,  that  he  never  took  undue  advantage  of  this  per- 
mission, and,  indeed,  was  never  heard  of  by  Grimaldi  again. 

The  witness  returned  to  town,  as  he  had  every  reason  to  do, 
with  a  light  heart ;  and  as  he  never  heard  any  further  intelli- 
gence either  of  the  half-dozen  gentlemen,  or  the  six  Lucretias  to 
whom  he  had  so  unwittingly  introduced  his  wife,  he  experienced 
no  further  trouble  or  disquiet  on  thi&  score. 




THE  facts  relating  to  Grimaldi's  connexion  with  John  Mackoull, 
alias  Mackintosh,  are  the  following : — 

Mackoull,  during  two  years  previous  to  Michaelmas,  1804, 
was  a  publican ;  he  kept  the  G-eorge  Inn,  at  Hayes,  in  Kent ; 
and,  in  his  own  words,  in  his  "Abuses  of  Justice,"  mentions 
the  following  particulars  :—"  In  justice  to  Mr.  Grirnaldi,  I  will 
shortly  state  the  commencement  and  nature  of  our  acquaint- 
ance. I  saw  him  for  the  first  time  as  a  guest  at  my  house  at 
Hayes,  where,  from  the  attention  I  paid  him  and  his  mends,  he 
visited  me  several  times. 

'*  Shortly  after  I  came  to  London,  I  accidentally  met  him, 
and  invited  him  and  his  wife  to  dine  with  me.  The  invitation 
was  accepted,  and  he  in  turn  invited  me  and  my  wife  to  dine  ; 
indeed,  tne  whole  of  our  acquaintance  consisted  in  several  times 
mutually  dining  at  each  other's  houses." 

Mackoull  lived  in  White  Lion-court,  in  Throgmorton-street, 
and  the  occasional  intimacy  appears  to  have  continued  till  1807, 
in  which  year,  on  March  13th,  Lund  had  a  benefit  at  the 
"Woolwich  Theatre,  when  the  Bolognas,  Grimaldi,  and  Norman, 
were  to  enact  Don  Juan.  Mackoull  accompanied  John  Bologna 
from  London  to  Woolwich  on  the  morning  of  the  13th;  the 
performances  went  oft'  well  at  night,  and  the  whole  party  con- 
tinued there  till  two  o'clock  in  the  afternoon  of  the  14th,  when 
Mackoull  left,  Grimaldi  having  promised  to  dine  with  him  on 
the  Wednesday  following. 

It  so  happened,  that  on  the  night  of  the  12th  of  March,  or  on 
the  morning  of  the  13th,  the  Edinburgh  mail-coach  was  robbed 
of  a  parcel,  forwarded  by  the  Newark  bank  to  Messrs.  Ken- 
sington, of  Lombard-street.  The  parcel  contained  bank-notes 
and  bills  to  the  amount  of  4500Z.,  payable  in  London;  and  was, 
as  afterwards  transpired,  stolen  by  a  man,  then  travelling  in  the 
mail,  named  Treble,  who,  to  avoid  hanging,  destroyed  himself.  A 
returned  transport,  named  Duffield,  received  the  bills,  and  a 
strolling  player,  named  John  Knight,  who,  under  the  assumed 
name  of  Warren,  at  Salisbury  and  other  places  enacted  Othello, 
and  other  principal  characteis.  He  became  the  negotiator  of 


some  of  the  bills  by  forging  or  indorsing  them  in  his  own  the- 
atrical name  of  Warren,  and  contrived  to  discount  one  at 
Burton-upon-Trent,  on  March  17th ;  another  at  Uttoxeter,  on 
the  18th;  a  third  at  Congleton,  on  the  19th;  and  a  fourth  at 
"Wirks worth,  on  the  20th.  Information  that  some  of  these  bills 
had  been  discounted  at  the  above  principal  banks  haying  trans- 
pired, and  a  description  of  the  person  who  had  negotiated  them 
being  transmitted,  MackoulTs  personal  appearance  was  ex- 
tremely similar  to  that  of  the  delinquent  described ;  and  he  was 
apprehended  accordingly  at  his  house  in  White  Lion-court,  on 
April  3rd,  taken  to  the  Brown  Bear,  in  Bow-street,  and  on  that 
evening  charged  at  Bow-street  with  felony,  having  robbed  the 
mail,  and  with  forgery  of  the  indorsements  on  the  bills  asserted 
to  have  been  negotiated  by  him.  He  was  remanded  to  the  8th, 
on  which  day  Mackoull  was  again  placed  at  the  bar,  Mr.  Alley  as 
his  counsel,  and  Mr.  Harmer  also  appearing  in  his  defence. 
But  it  was  not  until  the  third  hearing,  on  the  llth,  that  specific 
charges  were  made  against  him,  and  he  was  sworn  to  be  the 
person  who  had  obtained  the  money  for  the  bill  discounted  at 
the  Congleton  bank  on  March  19th.  Mackoull,  being  in  posses- 
sion of  the  charge,  was  enabled,  to  prove  an  alibi  most  satisfac- 
torily, as  Grimaldi  and  his  wife  had  dined  with  him  on  the 
18th  of  March.  Mrs.  Grimaldi  had  left  them  at  five  o'clock,  to 
sustain  her  part  in  the  Oratorio  that  evening  at  Covent  Garden 
Theatre,  and  Joe  had  remained  with  Mackoull  till  eleven  that 
night ;  it  was  therefore  clear  that  he  was  not  the  person  who 
had  negotiated  the  bills,  nor  was  he  the  party  who  had  robbed 
the  mail,  as  he  had  evidence  in  John  and  Louis  Bologna, 
Grimaldi,  Norman,  and  many  others ;  for  he  ^was  then  with 
them  at  Woolwich.  These  circumstances  being  named  by 
Mackoull  to  Mr.  Harmer,  he  undertook  to  wait  upon  Mr.  and 
Mrs.  Grimaldi,  which  it  would  seem  he  did  on  the  Sunday,  as 
on  the  Monday,  April  13th,  being  Mackoull' s  fourth  examina- 
tion, Mr.  Alley  proposed  offering  a  satsifactory  alibi  to  the 
charge  ;  but,  as  all  the  witnesses  had  not  been  conferred  with, 
desired  leave  to  ^bring  them  forward  on  the  following  day.  It 
is  tolerably  certain  that  Mr.  Harmer  had  seen  Grimaldi  and  his 
wife  on  Sunday,  for  Alley  mentioned  them,  amongst  others,  as 
witnesses  whom  he  should  bring  forward  on  the  Tuesday ;  and 
till  the  llth,  Mackoull  was  not  in  possession  of  the  particular 
charge  against  him. 

Mackoull  states  that  Mr.  Harmer  undertook  to  wait  upon 
Mr.  and  Mrs.  Grimaldi,  both  of  whom  recollected  perfectly  the 
day  on  which  they  had  dined  with  Mackoull,  previous  to 
Mr.  Harmer's  apprising  them  with  his  reasons  for  the  inquiry: 
both  spontaneously  proffered  to  prove  the  fact,  before  the  magis- 
trates, or  otherwise,  if  required ;  hence  Mr.  Alley's  intimation 
to  the  magistrates  on  the  13th,  on  which  day  a  young  man, 
named  Miflar,  son  of  the  police-constable,  and  then  an  under 


clerk  at  Bow-street  Office,  went  personally  to  Grimaldi,  and 
endeavoured  to  persuade  him  not  to  appear  on  the  following 
day  before  the  magistrates ;  and  insinuated  he  had  no  object  in. 
interfering  but  a  regard  for  Mr.  Grimaldi,  and  the  interest  that 
he  felt  for  his  reputation.  Joe  was,  however,  not  to  be  deterred 
or  intimidated  from  publicly  asserting  what  he  knew  to  be  true 
— more  particularly,  as  he  learned  that  the  life  of  a  fellow- 
creature  was  at  stake ;  and  contrary  to  this  stripling's  expectation 
and  wishes,  he  attended  at  Bow- street,  before  the  magistrates, 
Messrs.  Read  and  Graham,  on  the  14th,  giving  in  evidence  the 
facts  already  stated.  Two  points  of  alibi  were  fully  established 
by  Joe.  Mackpull  had  not  committed  the  robbery,  with  which 
he  was  in  the  first  instance  charged, — because  John  and  Louis 
Bologna,  Grimaldi,  and  Norman,  and  many  others,  could  and 
did  swear  that  he  was  with  them  at  Woolwich  at  the  time  the 
robbery  was  effected ;  and  as  to  his  being  the  person  who  had 
been  the  negotiator  of  the  bills  from  the  17th  to  the  20th  of 
March,  Grimaldi's  evidence  was  not  single,  and  was  therefore 
indisputable ;  but  Mr.  Kensington's  professional  adviser,  having 
a  wealthy  plaintiff  as  a  client,  abetted  his  reluctance  to  believe 
Mackoull  had  been  erroneously  charged  and  sworn  to.  On  the 
13th,  former  witnesses  had  sworn  most  positively  to  the  personal 
identity  of  Mackoull.  He  was  the  man  who  had  negotiated  the 
bills,  notwithstanding  the  evidence  offered  in  support  of  the 
alibi.  The  obstinacy  of  the  banker  Kensington  made  matters 
still  worse,  and  Mackoull  was  criminally  charged  with  five 
offences  in  the  several  towns  and  places  named ;  four  of  them 
were  capital,  and  a  conviction  on  either  would  have  involved 
the  forfeiture  of  his  life. 

A  further  hearing  was  deferred  till  April  23rd,  when  Grimaldi 
and  his  wife  again  attended,  and  swore  to  the  truth  of  their 
allegations:  bail  was  tendered,  offering  full  guarantee  for 
MackoulTs  appearance  when  required,  but  in  vain ;  the  in- 
fluence of  the  Lombard-street  firm  was  paramount ;  bail, 
however  unobjectionable,  was  refused ;  and  again  was  Mackoull 
remanded.  _  On  the  27th,  he  was  brought  up,  as  he  supposed, 
to  be  admitted  on  bail ;  but  no ;  it  was  for  his  committal  to 
Newgate,  preparatory  to  his  trial  at  the  ensuing  Stafford  as- 
sizes,— so  pertinaciously  had  his  prosecutors  driven  matters, 
that  there  seemed  no  escape  for  him.  Application  was,  how- 
ever, made  to  Sir  Soulden  Lawrence,  one  of  the  judges  in  the 
King's  Bench,  and  on  the  affidavits  of  Joseph  Grimaldi  and 
his  wife  Mary  Grimaldi,  was  Mackoull  immediately  enlarged. 
Mackoull  may  now  speak  for  himself: — 

"  Two  or  three  days  previous  to  the  assizes,  my  witnesses, 
Mr.  Harmer,  and  myself;  in  all  eighteen  persons,  left  London 
for  Stafford ;  my  mind  filled  with  the  most  gloomy  apprehen- 
sions. When  we  arrived  at  Lichfield,  Mr.  Harmer  determined 
to  finish  the  briefs  before  he  went  on  to  Stafford. 



circumstance  they  could  really  prove  was  known  to  myself 
and  my  solicitor ;  he  had  a  plain  statement  of  facts  to  narrate, 
and  though  it  ran  to  a  considerable  length  the  brief  was  drawn, 
and  two  copies  made  nearly  in  one  day,  in  the  following  manner. 
As  soon  as  Mr.  Harmer  had  drawn  a  paragraph  it  was  handed 
to  Mr.  Grimaldi,  who  [read  or]  dictated,  and  myself,  and  a 
young  man  we  procured  in  the  town  wrote  the  fair  copies  for 

"  Early  in  the  morning  of  the  commission  day,  Mr.  Harmer 
and  myself  went  on  to  Stafford,  leaving  my  witnesses  to  follow. 
Mr.  Grimaldi  was  the  first  witness  called  on  my  behalf;  he 
stated  exactly  what  had  been  set  forth  in  his  affidavit,  and  the 
solemn  manner  in  which  he  gave  his  testimony  carried  convic- 
tion,, and  made  a  lively  impression  upon  every  one  present.  He 
underwent  the  most  strict  examination ;  but  the  more  he  was 
questioned,  the  more  apparent  was  the  truth  of  his  evidence ; 
and  those  who  expected  to  see  the  zany  disgracing  himself  by 
his  buffoonery,  beheld  him  deliver  his  evidence  with  a  firmness, 
which  could  only  arise  from  conscious  rectitude ;  yet  still  with 
that  caution  and  dignity  which  should  characterize  every  honest 
man,  when  asserting  the  cause  of  truth  under  the  awful  obliga- 
tion of  an  oath. 

"  I  should  here  perhaps  mention,  that  I  felt  some  apprehen- 
sion, lest  the  prosecutor's  Counsel  should  endeavour,  in  the 
cross-examination  of  Mr,  Grimaldi,  to  throw  him  off  his  guard, 
by  insinuating  that  his  acquaintance  with  me  was  disreputable, 
and  exert  their  abilities  to  make  him  appear  ridiculous ;  there- 
fore, on  our  way  down,  I  hinted  my  fears,  and  begged  him,  for 
God's  sake,  to  keej>  his  temper,  to  answer  every  question  with 
calmness  and  propriety,  and  not  to  be  irritated  by  any  interro- 
gatories of  counsel;  to  which  he  answered,  'Whatever  were 
your  transactions  previous  to  my  acquaintance  I  know  not; 
but  certainly  I  never  observed  anything  improper  in  your 
conduct ;  nor  did  I,  till  this  unfortunate  affair,  hear  anytning 
to  your  disadvantage:  but  admitting  you  to  be  the  vilest 
character  on  earth,  I  am  bound,  as  a  man  and  a  Christian, 
to  speak  the  truth ;  and  I  should  consider  myself  highly 
culpable  if  I  withheld  my  testimony,  when,  by  giving  it,  1 
might  prevent  an  innocent  man  from  losing  his  life.  I  am 
going  to  assert  nothing  but  the  truth,  to  do  which  can  dis- 
honour no  man.  I  assure  you  I  am  too  much  impressed  with 
a  sense  of  your  unfortunate  situation  to  be  otherwise  than 
serious ;  and  I  trust  those  who  hear  me  will  be  properly  satis- 
fied, that  I  know  my  duty  when  giving  testimony  in  a  court 
of  justice,  as  well  as  when  performing  before  an  audience  at 
a  public  theatre.'  These  were  his  observations,  and  he  fully 
verified  them. 

"Mrs.  Grimaldi  was  next  called,  and  confirmed  the  testi- 
mony, of  her  husband  in  every  particular. 


"Mr.  Dauncey,  the  counsel  for  the  prosecution,  in  his  open- 
ing speech,  had  mentioned  that  I  kept  houses  of  a  certain 
description,  and  endeavoured  to  impress  the  minds  of  the  jury 
with  a  belief  that  no  credit  was  to  be  given  to  any  witness 
who  could  visit  or  associate  with  me.  He  even  said  it  was 
material  to  consider  whether  I  and  my  ^  witnesses  were  not 
guilty  of  a  foul  conspiracy  to  defeat  justice ;  and  in  order  to 
lessen  the  effect  of  Mr.  and  Mrs.  Grimaldi's  evidence,  they  were 
interrogated  by  the  prosecutor's  counsel  as  to  their  knowledge 
of  my  keeping  disorderly  houses,  which  they  most  positively, 
and  with  truth,  denied. 

"  Mr.  Justice  Graham,  in  addressing  the  jury,  told  them  he 
conceived  they  must  entertain  the  same  opinion  with  himself, 
that  the  witnesses  for  the  prosecution  had  mistaken  Mackoull 
for  the  person  who  had  committed  the  offences,  and  if  so,  it 
would  be  unnecessary  for  him.  to  sum  up  the  evidence.  The 
jury  instantly  expressed  their  concurrence  with  the  opinion 
of  the  judge ;  and,  after  a  trial  of  nine  hours,  Mackoull  was 
pronounced — Not  guilty. 

.  "  How  impotent  now  appeared  the  whole  phalanx  of  my  oppo- 
nent. During  the  examination  of  Mr.  and  Mrs.  Grimaldi,  young 
Millar  was  in  the  outer  hall  taunting  the  rest  of  my  witnesses. 
He  said  '  he  should  soon  do  away  with  their  evidence,  and  that, 
when  he  was  called,  it  would  be  all  over  with  me.'  When  Mrs. 
Grimaldi  came  out  of  court  he  personally  insulted  her. 

"Notwithstanding  the  satisfactory  manner  in  which  my 
innocence  was  established,  my  acquittal  was  attributed  to  base 
and  unworthy  means.  It  was  said  that  Grimaldi  was,  no 
doubt,  well  paid  for  perjuring  himself.  The  reputation  of 
Mr.  Grimaldi  is  so  well  established,  that  he  cannot  be  affected 
by  the  gross  slanders  circulated  respecting  his  evidence.  He 
is  well  known  to  be  incapable  of  a  dishonourable  action ;  and 
far  from  being  paid  to  give  false  testimony,  he  was  a  loser  of 
his  salary  for  the  time  he  was  absent,  It  is  true,  I  offered 
to  pay  him  the  amount,  but  he  generously  declined  accepting 
it,  saying,  he  felt  the  injuries  I  had  suffered,  and  would  not 
add  to  my  distress  by  receiving  a  shilling. 

"  Facts  have  their  point-marks  as  pleasurable  as  the  enspan- 
elements  of  fable." 

L  2 


1807  to  1808. 

Bradbury,  the  Clown. — His  voluntary  confinement  in  a  Madhouse,  to  screen  nn 
"Honourable"  Thief. — His  release,  strange  conduct,  subsequent  career,  and 
death.— Dreadful  Accident  at  Sadler's  Wells.— The  Night-drives  to  Finchley. 
— Trip  to  Birmingham. — Mr.  Macready,  the  Manager,  and  his  curious  Stage- 
properties. — Sudden  recall  to  Town. 

ON  his  return  to  town,  of  course,  he  went  immediately  to 
Sadler's  Wells ;  where,  however,  to  his  great  surprise,  he  was 
informed  by  Mr.  Dibdin  that  he  was  not  wanted  just  yet, 
inasmuch  as  Bradbury  had  been  engaged  for  a  fortnight,  and 
had  not  been  there  above  half  the  time.  He  added,  too,  that 
Bradbury  had  made  a  great  hit,  and  become  very  popular. 

This  intelligence  vexed  Grimaldi  not  a  little,  as  he  naturally 
feared  that  the  sudden  popularity  of  the  new  favourite  might 
affect  that  of  the  old  one ;  but  his  annoyance  was  much  in- 
creased when  he  was  informed  that  the  proprietors  were  anxious 
that  on  the  night  of  Bradbury's  benefit,  they  should  both  play 
in  the  same  pantomime.  He  yielded  his  consent  with  a  very 
ill  grace,  and  with  the  conviction  that  it  would  end  in  his  entire 
loss  of  favour  with  the  audience.  When  the  proposition  was 
made  to  Bradbury  in  his  presence,  it  was  easy  to  see  that  he 
liked  it  as  little  as  himself;  which  was  natural  enough.  It  was 
not  for  him,  however,  to  oppose  the  suggestion,  as  the  combina- 
tion of  strength  would  very  likely  draw  a  great  house,  and  he 
had  only  taken  half  of  it  with  the  proprietors  for  that  night. 

It  was  accordingly  arranged  that  they  should  appear  together 
on  the  following  Saturday;  Bradbury  sustaining  the  part  of 
the  Clown  for  the  first  three  scenes  in  the  pantomime,  then 
Grimaldi  taking  it  for  the  next  three  scenes,  and  Bradbury 
coming  in  again  to  close  the  piece.  Grimaldi  was  so  much 
dissatisfied  with  these  arrangements,  that,  on  the  morning  of 
the  day  fixed,  he  told  his  friend  Richard  Lawrence  (now  or 
lately  the  Surrey  treasurer)  that  he  was  certain  it  was  "  all  up 
with  him,"  and  that  Bradbury  had  thrown  him  completely  out 
of  favour  with  the  public. 

The  result,  however,  was  not  what  he  anticipated.  The 
moment  he  appeared,  he  was  received  with  the  most  tremendous 
applause.  Animated  by  this  encouraging  reception,  he  redoubled 
his  exertions,  and  went  through  his  three  scenes  amidst  the 


loudest  and  most  enthusiastic  plaudits.  This  reception  rather 
vexed  and  confused  the  other  who  had  to  follow,  and  who, 
striving  to  outdo  his  predecessor,  made  such  a  complete  failure, 
that,  although  it  was  his  own  benefit,  and  he  might  reasonably 
be  supposed  to  have  a  good  many  friends  in  ^the  house,  he  was 
actually  hissed,  and  ran  off  the  stage  in  great  disorder. 
Grimaldi  finished  the  pantomime  for  him,  and  the  brilliant 
manner  in  which  it  went  off  sufficiently  testified  to  him  that 
all  the  fears  and  doubts  to  which  he  had  previously  given  way 
were  utterly  groundless.  Indeed,  when  the  performances  were 
over,  Bradbury  frankly  admitted  that  he  was  the  best  Clown  he 
had  ever  seen,  and  that,  if  he  had  been  aware  of  his  abilities,  he 
would  not  have  suffered  himself  to  be  put  in  competition  with 
him  on  any  account  whatever. 

This  Bradbury  was  a  clever  actor  in  his  way,  and  a  very  good 
Clown,  but  of  so  different  a  character  from  Grimaldi,  that  it  was 
hardly  fair  to  either,  to  attempt  instituting  a  comparison  between 
them.  He  was  a  tumbling  Clown  rather  than  a  humorous  one, 
and  would  perform  many  wonderful  and  dangerous  feats.  He 
would  jump  from  the  flies — that  is,  from  the  curtains  above  the 
stage — down  on  to  the  stage  itself,  and  do  many  other  things 
equally  surprising.  To  enable  himself  to  go  through  these 
performances  without  danger,  he  always  occupied  a  very  long 
time  in  dressing  for  the  part,  and  adjusting  no  fewer  than  nine 
strong  pads  about  his  person,  in  such  a  manner  as  to  protect 
those  parts  of  his  frame  which  were  the  most  liable  to  injury ; — 
wearing  one  on  the  head,  one  round  the  shoulders,  one  round 
the  hips,  two  on  the  elbows,  two  on  the  knees,  and  two  on  the 
heels  of  his  shoes.  Thus  armed,  he  would  proceed  to  throw  and 
knock  himself  about  in  a  manner  which,  to  those  unacquainted 
with  his  precautions,  appeared  to  indicate  an  intense  anxiety  to 
meet  with  some  severe,  if  not  fatal  accident.  Grimaldi,  on  the 
contrary,  never  wore  any  padding  in  his  life  ;  nor  did  he  attempt 
any  of  the  great  exploits  which  distinguished  Bradbury.  His 
Clown  was  of  a  much  more  composed  and  subdued  temperament, 
although  much  more  comical  and  amusing,  as  is  sufficiently 
shown  by  the  result  of  the  comparison  between  the  two  which 
has  just  been  described.  Bradbury  was  very  original  withal^ 
and  copied  no  one ;  for  he  had  struck  out  a  peculiar  line  for 
himself,  and  never  departed  from  it. 

After  the  night  at  Sadler's  Wells,  Grimaldi  heard  nothing 
more  of  Bradbury  for  some  time  ;  but  at  length  received  a  note 
from  him,  dated,  to  his  excessive  surprise,  from  a  private  mad- 
house at  Hoxton,  requesting  him  to  visit  him  there  without 
delay,  as  he  was  exceedingly  anxious  to  see  him.  He  was  much 
astonished  at  this  request,  as  little  or  no  intimacy  had  previously 
existed  between  them,  and  the  place  where  the  letter  was  dated 
was  so  very  unexpected  and  startling.  Not  knowing  what  to 
do,  he  showed  the  letter  to  his  friend  Lawrence,  who  recom- 


mended  him  by  all  means  to  go,  and  volunteered  to  accompany 

As  he  gladly  availed  himself  of  this  offer,  they  went  together 
to  Hoxton,  and  inquiring  at  the  appointed  place,  were  intro- 
duced to  Bradbury,  who  was  a  patient  in  the  asylum,  and  had 
submitted  to  the  customary  regulations :  all  his  hair  being 
shaved  off,  and  his  person  being  kept  under  strict  restraint. 
Concluding  that  he  had  a  maniac  to  deal  with,  Grimaldi  spoke 
in  a  very  gentle,  quiet  manner,  which  the  patient  observing, 
burst  into  a  roar  of  laughter. 

"  My  dear  fellow,"  said  Bradbury,  "  don't  look  and  speak  to 
me  in  that  way ! — for  though  you  find  me  here,  treated  as  a 
patient,  and  with  my  head  shaved,  I  am  no  more  mad  than  you 

Grimaldi  rather  doubted  this  assurance,  knowing  it  to  be  a 
common  one  with  insane  people,  and  therefore  kept  at  a  respect- 
ful distance.  He  was  not  long  in  discovering,  however,  that 
what  Bradbury  said  was  perfectly  true.  The  circumstances 
which  had  led  to  his  confinement  in  the  lunatic  asylum  were 
briefly  these : 

Bradbury  was  a  very  dashing  person,  keeping  a  tandem,  and 
associating  with  many  gentlemen  and  men  of  title.  Upon  one 
occasion,  when  he  had  been  playing  at  Plymouth,  a  man-of-war 
was  coming  round  from  that  town  to  Portsmouth,  on  board  of 
which  he  had  several  friends  among  the  officers,  who  took  him 
on  board  with  them.  It  was  agreed  that  they  should  sup 
together  at  Portsmouth.  A  splendid  meal  having  been  pre- 
pared, they  spent  the  night,  or  at  least  the  larger  portion  of  it, 
in  great  hilarity.  As  morning  approached,  Bradbury  rose  to 
retire,  and  then,  with  considerable  surprise,  discovered  that  a 
magnificent  gold  snuff-box,  with  a  gold  chain  attached,  which 
he  was  accustomed  to  wear  in  his  fob,  and  which  he  had  placed 
on  the  table  for  the  use  of  his  friends,  had  disappeared.  He 
mentioned  the  circumstance,  and  a  strict  search  was  imme- 
diately instituted,  but  with  no  other  effect  than  that  of  proving 
that  the  valuable  box  was  gone.  When  every  possible  conjec- 
ture had  been  hazarded,  and  inquiry  made  without  success,  it 
was  recollected  that  one  of  their  companions,  a  young  gentleman 
already  writing  "  Honourable  "  before  his  name,  and  having  a 
coronet  in  no  very  remote  perspective,  had  retired  from  the 
table  almost  immediately  after  supper :— it  was  suggested  that 
he  might  have  taken  it  in  jest,  for  the  purpose  of  alarming  its 

Bradbury  and  several  others  went  to  this  gentleman's  room, 
and  communicated  to  him  the  loss,  and  their  doubts  respecting 
him.  The  young  gentleman  positively  denied  any  knowledge 
of  the  box,  and,  after  bitterly  reproaching  them  for  their  sus- 
picions, abruptly  closed  the  door  in  their  faces,  leaving  Brad- 
bury in  a  state  of  violent  mortification  at  his  loss. 


On  the  following  morning,  nothing  more  having  been  heard 
of  the  missing  property,  the  gentleman,  against  whom  Bradbury 
now  nourished  many  serious  misgivings,  sent  down  word  to  his 
friends,  that  he  was  so  much  vexed  with  them  for  their  conduct 
of  the  night  before,  in  supposing  it  possible  he  could  have  taken 
anything  away  even  in  jest,  that  ne  should  not  join  them  at 
breakfast,  but,  on  the  contrary,  should  immediately  return  to 
town.  This  message,  instead  of  allaying,  as  it  was  doubtless 
intended  to  do,  Bradbury's  suspicions,  caused  him  to  think  still 
worse  of  the  matter ;  and  upon  ascertaining  that  the  young  man 
had  actually  taken  a  place  in  the  next  coach  which  started  for 
London,  he  lost  no  time  in  obtaining  a  warrant,  by  virtue  of 
which  he  took  him  prisoner  just  as  he  was  stepping  into  the 
coach.  Upon  searching  his  portmanteau,  the  box  was  found, 
together  with  several  articles  belonging  to  his  other  companions. 
Bradbury  was  determined  to  prosecute,  not  considering  the 
young  gentleman's  nobility  any  palliation  of  the  theft :  he 
was  instantly  taken  before  a  magistrate,  and  fully  committed 
for  trial. 

No  sooner  did  this  affair  become  known  to  the  relatives  and 
connexions  of  the  offender,  than,  naturally  anxious  to  preserve 
the  good  name  of  the  family,  they  proceeded  to  offer  large  sums 
to  Bradbury  if  he  would  relinquish  the  prosecution, — all  of 
which  proposals  he  for  some  time  steadily  refused.  At  length 
they  offered  him  a  handsome  annuity,  nrmly  secured  for  the 
whole  of  his  life  :  he  was  not  proof  against  this  temptation,  and 
at  length  signified  his  readiness  to  accept  the  bribe. 

The  next  point  to  be  considered  was,  how  Bradbury  could 
accept  the  money  without  compounding  a  felony,  and  increasing 
the  obloquy  already  cast  upon  the  thief.  He  hit  upon  and 
carried  into  execution  a  most  singular  plan: — he  caused  the 
report  to  be  circulated  that  he  had  suddenly  become  insane — 
committed  many  extravagant  acts — and  in  a  short  time  was, 
apparently  against  his  own  will,  but  in  reality  by  his  own  con- 
trivance, deprived  of  his  liberty,  and  conveyed  to  the  asylum 
where  Grimaldi  visited  him.  The  consequence  of  this  step  was, 
that  when  the  stealer  of  the  snuff-box  was  placed  upon  his  trial, 
no  prosecutor  appearing,  he  was  adjudged  not  guilty,  and 
liberated  accordingly.  Intelligence  of  this  was  directly  sent  to 
Bradbury,  who  proceeded  to  make  arrangements  for  his  own 
release :  this  was  soon  effected,  and  it  was  on  the  eve  of  the 
day  of  his  departure  that  Grimaldi  saw  him  in  the  madhouse. 
His  only  object  in  writing,  or  rather,  in  causing  the  letter  to  be 
written,  for  he  could  not  write  a  line  himself,  nor  read  either, 
was,  to  ask  him  to  play  for  his  ensuing  benefit  at  the  Surrey 
Theatre,  which  he  readily  consented  to  do ;  then  wishing  him  a 
speedy  deliverance  from  his  disagreeable  abode,  he  took  his 

The  next  day  Bradbury  came  out  of  the  asylum,  telling  every- 


body  that  he  was  perfectly  recovered,  having  got  well  in  as 
sudien  a  manner  as  he  fell  ill,  and  in  the  following  week  his 
benefit  took  place.  Grimaldi  played  and  sang  for  him,  and  took 
money  at  the  gallery  door,  to  boot.  The  house  was  quite  full, 
and  everything  went  on  well  until  Bradbury  made  his  appear- 
ance, when,  impelled  by  some  strange  and  sudden  whim,  he  was 
guilty  of  a  disgusting  piece  of  irreverence  and  impertinence. 
The  consequence  of  this  was,  that  the  audience  very  naturally 
and  properly  took  great  offence,  and  upon  a  repetition  of  the 
conduct,  literally  hooted  him  from  the  stage. 

This  was  the  ruin  of  Bradbury  as  a  pantomimist.  He  did 
not  appear  again  in  London  for  many  years,  and,  although  he 
played  occasionally  in  the  country  theatres,  never  afterwards 
regained  his  former  rank  and  celebrity  in  the  profession.  As 
far  as  pecuniary  matters  were  concerned,  it  did  not  matter  much 
to  him,  the  annuity  affording  him  a  handsome  independence ; 
but  whether  he  afterwards  sold  it  and  dissipated  the  money, 
or  whether  the  annuity  itself  was  discontinued  in  the  course  of 
years,  this  at  least  is  certain,  that  when  he  died,  which  he  did 
in  London,  in  1828,  he  was  in  very  indifferent  circumstances,  if 
not  in  actual  want. 

In  October,  Covent  Garden  commenced  the  new  campaign, 
and  brought  forward  "  Mother  Goose,"  which  ran,  with  the  same 
degree  of  success  as  before,  until  nearly  Christmas,  and  was 
played  altogether  twenty-nine  times. 

On  the  15th  of  this  month,  a  most  frightful  accident  occurred 
at  Sadler's  Wells.  >  The  pantomime  was  played  first  that  night, 
which,  joined  to  his  having  nothing  to  do  at  Covent  Garaen, 
enabled  Grimaldi  to  go  home  early  to  bed.  At  midnight  he  was 
awakened  by  a  great  noise  in  the  street,  and  loud  and  repeated 
knocks  at  the  door  of  his  house :  at  first  he  concluded  it  might 
be  some  idle  party  amusing  themselves  by  knocking  and  running 
away ;  an  intellectual  amusement  not  at  that  time  exclusively 
confined  to  a  few  gentlemen  of  high  degree  ;  but  finding  that  it 
was  repeated,  and  that  the  noise  without  increased,  he  hastily 
slipped  on  a  morning-gown  and  trowsers,  and  hurried  to  the 

The  people  who  were  clamouring  outside,  were  for  the  most 
part  friends,  who  exclaimed,  when  he  appeared,  that  they  had 
merely  come  to  assure  themselves  of  his  personal  safety,  and 
were  rejoiced  to  find  that  he  had  escaped.  He  now  learned,  for 
the  first  time,  that  some  vagabonds  in  the  pit  of  the  theatre  had 
raised  a  cry  of  "  I1  ire !"  during  the  performance  of  the  last 
piece,  "  The  Ocean  Fiend,"  and  that  the  audience  had  risen 
simultaneously  to  make  their  escape :  that  a  violent  rush  to- 
wards the  doors  had  ensued,  and  that  in  the  confusion  and  fright 
a  most  fearful  loss  of  life  had  taken  place.  He  waited  to  hear 
no  more,  but  instantly  ran  off  to  the  theatre. 

On  arriving  there,  he  found  the  crowd  of  people  collected 


around  it  so  dense,  as  to  render  approach  by  the  usual  path 
impossible.  Filled  with  anxiety,  and  determined  to  ascertain 
the  real  state  of  the  case,  he  ran  round  to  the  opposite  bank  of 
the  New  River,  plunged  in,  swam  across,  and  finding  the  parlour 
window  open,  and  a  light  at  the  other  end  of  the  room,  threw  up 
the  sash  and  jumped  in  a  la  Harlequin.  What  was  his  horror, 
on  looking  round,  to  discover  that  there  lay  stretched  in  the 
apartment  no^fewer  than  nine  dead  bodies !  yes  !  there  lay  the 
remains  of  nine  human  beings,  lifeless,  and  scarcely  yet  cold, 
whom  a  few  hours  back  he  had  been  himself  exciting  to  shouts 
of  laughter.  Paralysed  by  the  sad  sight,  he  stood  awhile  with- 
out the  power  of  motion ;  then,  hurrying  to  the  door,  hastily 
sought  to  rid  himself  of  the  dreadful  scene.  It  was  locked 
without,  and  he  vainly  strove  to  open  it,  so  knocked  violently 
for  assistance.  At  first  the  family  of  Mr.  Hughes  were  greatly 
terrified  at  hearing  these  sounds  issuing  from  a  room  tenanted, 
as  they  imagined,  only  by  the  dead ;  but  at  length  recognising 
the  voice,  they  unlocked  the  door,  and  he  gladly  emerged  from 
the  apartment. 

It  was  not  known  until  next  day  how  many  lives  were  lost ; 
but  when  the  actual  loss  of  life  could  be  ascertained,  it  appeared 
that  twenty-three  people,  male  and  female,  were  killed,  not  to 
mention  many  dangerous  and  severe  accidents.  _  This  melan- 
choly catastrophe  was  mainly  attributable  to  the  imprudence  of 
those  persons  who  reached  the  theatre  doors  first,  and  who, 
upon  finding  that  nothing  really  was  the  matter,  sought  to 
return  to  their  places.  The  meeting  of  the  two  crowds  in  the 
passages,  caused  a  complete  stoppage ;  and  this  leading  the 
people  inside  to  believe  that  all  egress  was  blocked  up,  impelled 
them  to  make  violent  efforts  to  escape,  for  the  most  part  fatal 
to  the  unfortunate  persons  who  tried  them.  Several  people 
flung  themselves  from  the  gallery  into  the  pit,  others  rushed 
hopelessly  into  the  densest  part  of  the  crowd  and  were  suffo- 
cated, others  were  trodden  under  foot,  and  hence  the  melan- 
choly result. 

This  accident  happening  on  the  last  night  but  four  of  the 
season,  it  was  deemed  prudent  not  to  re-open  the  house  that 
year.*  Such  performers  as  were  entitled  to  benefits,  and  had 
not  yet  taken  them,  took  them  at  the  Circus ;  and  thus  ter- 

*  The  house  closed,  but  re-opened  for  two  nights  on  Monday,  November  2, 
and  Tuesday,  November  3.  The  whole  proceeds  were  given  to  the  relations  of 
the  deceased,  and  to  the  maimed  sufferers  on  that  luckless  night,  the  15th  of  the 
preceding  month.  The  entire  company  engaged  in  the  theatre  tendered  their 
services  gratuitously :  the  two  nights'  representations  produced  2001.  7s.,  which 
was  beneficially  and  impartially  distributed  by  the  proprietors,  a  proceeding 
which  elicited  the  following  declaration : — 

"  We,  the  magistrates,  who  have  acted  on  this  occasion,  feel  it  incumbent  upon 
us  to  express  to  the  public  our  approbation  of  the  conduct  of  the  proprietors  of 
Sadler's  Wells,  who  used,  as  it  appears,  every  possible  exertion  at  the  time,  and 
have  shown  every  attention  to  alleviate,  as  much  as  was  in  their  power,  the  dis- 


minated  tlie  season  of  1807,— the  most  melancholy  termination 
of  a  season  which  Sadler's  Wells  Theatre  had  ever  known. 

On  the  26th  of  December,  was  produced  "  Harlequin  in  his 
Element ;  or,  Fire,  Water,  Earth,  and  Air,"  in  which  Bologna 
and  Grimaldi  were  the  harlequin  and  clown.  It  was  highly 
successful,  and  in  Grimaldi's  opinion  deservedly  so,  for  he 
always  considered  it  one  of  the  best  pantomimes  in  which  he 
ever  played.  During  this  season,  he  also  performed  in  an 
unsuccessful  melo-drama,  entitled  "  Bonifacio  and  Bridgetino,"* 
and  also  Baptiste,  in  "Raymond  and  Agnes,"  which  latter 
piece  went  off  very  well,  and  was  repeated  several  times. 

At  this  time  he  had  a  cottage  at  Finchley,t  to  which  place  he 
used  to  drive  down  in  his  gig  after  the  performances.  If  there 
were  no  rehearsal,  he  remained  there  until  the  following  after- 
noon ;  if  there  were,  he  returned  to  town  immediately  after 
breakfast.  His  principal  reason  for  taking  the  house  originally, 
was  that  his  young  son,  of  whom  he  was  extremely  fond,  might 
have  the  benefit  of  country  air:  but  both  he  and  his  wife 
became  so  much  attached  to  it,  that  when  his  original  term 
expired  he  renewed  the  lease,  and  retained  it  altogether  for 
several  years. 

He  met  with  numerous  little  adventures  during  these  night- 
drives  after  the  theatre  :  sometimes  he  fell  asleep  as  soon  as  he 
had  turned  out  of  town,  and  only  awoke  when  he  arrived  at  his 
own  gate.  One  night  he  was  so  fatigued  with  his  performance 
that  he  still  continued  to  sleep,  when  the  horse,  a  very  steady 
one,  who  could  always  find  his  way  home  without  assistance, 
had  ^topped  at  the  gate.  The  best  of  it  was,  that  upon  this 
particular  night,  the  man-servant,  who  always  sat  up  for  him, 
had  fallen  asleep  too ;  so  there  sat  he  slumbering  on  one  side  of 
the  fence,  while  on  the  other  side,  not  six  feet  off,  sat  his  master 
in  the  gig,  fast  asleep  too  ;  and  so  they  both  remained,  until  the 
violent  snorting  of  the  horse,  which  probably  thought  it  high 
time  to  turn  in  for  the  night,  awoke  the  man,  who  roused  the 
master,  and  speedily  set  all  to  rights.  But  as  one  circumstance 
which  occurred  to  him  during  these  night  journeys  will  be  nar- 
rated at  greater  length  in  another  part  of  the  volume,  we  will 
leave  the  subject  for  the  present. 

tress  occasioned  by  so  melancholy  an  event ;  and  at  the  same  time  we  feel  a 
pleasure  in  bearing  our  testimonies  to  the  grateful  deportment  of  those  who  have 
experienced  the  attention,  the  humanity,  and  the  liberal  relief  which  has  been 
afforded  them. 

W.  Wix. 

"  SADLER'S  WELLS,  Nov.  27, 1807." 

*  Bologna  Jun.  and  Grimaldi  were  the  two  heroes  in  this  piece,  produced  for 
the  first  time  at  Covent  Garden  Theatre,  on  Thursday,  March  31,  1808. 

t  On  the  edge  of  the  common,  between  the  seventh  and  eighth  mile  stone,  on 
the  left-hand  side  of  the  road  from  town. 


He  very  grievously  offended  Mr.  Fawcett,  in  March,  1808,  from 
a  very  slight  cause,  and  without  the  remotest  intention  of  doing 
so.  Fawcett  called  one  afternoon  at  his  cottage  at  Finchley,  on 
his  road  to  town  from  his  own  house  at  Totteridge,  which  was 
only  two  miles  distant  from  Grimaldi's,  and  asked  Grimaldi  to 
play  for  his  benefit,  then  close  at  hand :  this  he  most  willingly 
promised  to  do 

"Ah,"  said  Fawcett,  "but  understand  I  don't  want  you  to 
play  clown  or  anything  of  that  sort :  I  want  you  to  do  Brocket 
in  the  '  Son-in-Law.' " 

Grimaldi  demurred  a  little  to  this  proposition,  considering 
that  as  he  had  made  a  great  hit  in  one  branch  of  Ms  profession, 
he  could  not  do  better  than  retain  his  standing  in  it,  without 
attempting  some  new  line  in  which,  by  failure,  he  might  injure 
his  reputation.  Not  wishing  to  disoblige  Mr.  Fawcett  if  he 
could  possibly  help  it,  he  replied  that  he  must  decline  giving 
an  answer  at  that  moment,  but  that  in  the  course  of  a  day  or 
two  he  would  write.  Having  consulted  his  friends  in  the  mean 
time,  and  being  strongly  advised  by  them  not  to  appear  in  the 
character  Mr.  Fawcett  had  mentioned,  he  wrote,  declining  in 
respectful  terms  to  do  so,  and  stating  the  grounds  of  his  objec- 
tion. Odd  as  it  may  appear,  the  little  circumstance  angered 
him  much:  he  never  afterwards  behaved  towards  him  with 
any  cordiality,  and  for  the  three  years  immediately  following, 
never  so  much  as  spoke  to  or  noticed  him  whenever  they 
chanced  to  meet. 

On  the  14th,  he  received  permission  from  Mr.  Kemble  to  play 
for  his  sister-in-law's  benefit  at  the  Birmingham  theatre,  which 
was  then  under  the  management  of  Mr.  Macready,  the  father 
of  the  great  tragedian.  Immediately  upon  his  arrival,  Grimaldi 
repaired  to  his  hotel,  and  was  welcomed  by  Mr.  Macready  with 
much  cordiality  and  politeness,  proposing  that  he  should  remain 
in  Birmingham  two,  or,  if  possible,  three  nights  after  the  benefit 
at  which  he  was  announced  to  perform,  and  offering  terms  of 
the  most  liberal  description.  Anticipating  a  proposal  of  this 
nature,  Grimaldi  had,  before  he  left  town  inquired  what  the 
performances  were  likely  to  be  at  Covent  Garden  for  some  days 
to  come.  Finding  that  if  the  existing  arrangements  were 
adhered  to,  he  could  not  be  wanted  for  at  least  a  week,  he  had 
resolved  to  accept  any  good  offer  that  might  be  made  to  him  at 
Birmingham,  and  therefore  closed  with  Mr.  Macready,  without 
hesitation.  After  breakfast  they  walked  together  to  the  theatre 
to  rehearse  ;  and  here  Grimaldi  discovered  a  great  lack  of  those 
adjuncts  of  stage  effect  technically  known  as  "properties:" 
there  were  no  tricks,  nor  indeed  was  there  anything  requisite  for 
pantomimic  business.  After  vainly  endeavouring  to  devise 
some  means  by  which  the  requisite  articles  could  be  dispensed 
with,  he  mentioned  his  embarrassment  to  the  manager. 

"What!  properties  ?"  exclaimed  that  gentleman:  "wonder- 


fid!  you  London  stars  require  a  hundred  things,  where  we 
country  people  are  content  with  one :  however,  whatever  you 
want  you  snail  have. — Here,  Will,  go  down  to  the  market  and 
buy  a  small  pig,  a  goose,  and  two  ducks.  Mr.  Grimaldi  wants 
some  properties,  and  must  have  them." 

The  man  grinned,  took  the  money,  and  went  away.  After 
some  reflection  Grimaldi  decided  in  his  own  mind  that  the 
manager's  directions  had  been  couched  in  some  peculiar  phrases 
common  to  the  theatre,  and  at  once  went  about  arranging  six 
pantomime  scenes,  with  which  the  evening's  entertainments 
were  to  conclude.  While  he  was  thus  engaged,  a  violent  uproar 
and  loud  shouts  of  laughter  hailed  the  return  of  the  messenger, 
who,  haying  fulfilled  his  commission  to  the  very  letter,  pre- 
sented him  with  a  small  pig,  a  goose,  and  two  ducks,  all  alive, 
and  furthermore,  with  Mr.  Macready's  compliments,  and  he 
deeply  regretted  to  say  that  those  were  all  the  properties  in  th<s 

He  accepted  them  with  many  thanks,  and  arranged  a  little  busi- 
ness accordingly  He  caused  the  old  man  in  the  pantomime  and 
his  daughter  to  enter,  immediately  after  the  rising  of  the  curtain, 
as  though  they  had  just  come  back  from  market,  while  he  himself, 
as  clown  and  their  servant,  followed,  carrying  their  purchases. 
He  dressed  himself  in  an  old  livery  coat  with  immense  pockets, 
and  a  huge  cocked  hat ;  both  were,  of  course,  over  his  clown's 
costume.  At  his  back,  he  carried  a  basket  laden  with  carrots 
and  turnips;  stuffed  a  duck  into  each  pocket,  leaving  their 
heads  hanging  out ;  carried  the  pig  under  x>ne  arm,  and  the 
goose  under  the  other.  Thus  fitted  and  attired,  he  presented 
himself  to  the  audience,  and  was  received  with  roars  of  laughter. 
His  songs  were  all  encored — "  Tippitywitchit "  three  times,  and 
the  hit  was  most  decided.  The  house  was  full  to  the  ceiling, 
and  it  was  equally  full  on  the  following  night,  when  he  played 
Scaramouch ;  the  third  night  was  as  good  as  any  of  the  pre- 
ceding ;  and  the  fourth,  which  terminated  his  engagement, 
was  as  successful  as  the  rest.  Just  as  he  was  going  on  the  stage 
on  this  last  evening,  and  had  even  taken  up  his  "  properties  " 
for  that  purpose,  a  note  was  put  into  his  hands,  which  was 
dated  that  morning,  and  had  just  arrived  from  London,  whence 
it  had  been  despatched  with  all  possible  speed.  He  opened  it 
hastily,  and  read,  in  the  hand  of  an  intimate  friend, 

"DEAR  JOE, — They  have  announced  you  to  play  to-morrow 
night  at  Covent  Garden ;  and  as  they  know  you  have  not 
returned  from  Birmingham,  I  fear  it  is  done  to  injure  you. 
Lose  not  a  moment,  but  start  immediately  on  the  receipt  of 

He  instantly  ran  to  Mr.  Macready,  and  showing  him  the 
letter^  told  him,  that,  although  he  was  very  sorry  to  disappoint 
his  Birmingham  friends,  he  could  not  stop  to  play. 


"  Not  stop  to  play  !"  echoed  the  manager  :  "  why,  my  good 
fellow,  they  will  pull  the  house  down.  You  must  stop  to  play, 
and  post  up  to  London  afterwards.  I'll  take  care  that  a  chaise 
and  four  are  waiting  for  you  at  the  stage-door,  and  that  every- 
thing shall  be  ready  for  you  to  start,  the  moment  you  have 
finished  your  business." 

He  played  with  the  same  success  to  a  brilliant  house,  received 
294Z.  from  the  manager  as  his  remuneration  for  three  nights, 
tlirew  himself  into  the  chaise,  and  at  twelve  o'clock,  within  a 
few  minutes  after  he  had  quitted  the  stage,  was  on  his  road  to 

The  weather  was  tempestuous,  the  roads  in  a  most  desperate 
condition,  and,  to  make  matters  worse,  he  treated  the  postboys 
so  liberally  in  the  hope  of  accelerating  their  speed,  that  they 
became  so  drunk  as  to  be  scarcely  able  to  sit  their  horses.  After 
various  escapes  and  perils,  they  discovered,  at  the  end  of  an 
unusually  long  stage,  that  they  had  come  fourteen  miles  out  of 
the  road,  "all  in  consequence,"  as  one  of  the  boys  said,  with 
many  hiccups,  and  much  drunken  gravity, — "  all  in  consequence 
of  only  taking  one  wrong  turn." 

The  result  of  this  combination  of  mischances  was,  that  he  did 
not  reach  Salt  Hill  until  seven  o'clock  on  the  following  evening; 
having  been  nineteen  hours  on  the  road.  Here  he  jumped  into 
another  chaise  which  fortunately  stood  ready  at  the  door,  and 
hurried  up  to  London,  without  venturing  to  stay  for  any  re- 
freshment whatever.  He  drove  straight  to  the  theatre,  where 
he  found  his  friend  awaiting  his  arrival  with  great  trepidation. 
Hearing  that  the  overture  to  the  piece  in  which  he  was  to  per- 
form was  then  playing,  he  gave  his  friend  the  294Z.  to  take  care 
of,  ran  to  his  dressing-room,  dressed  for  his  part,  which  Farley 
had  already  made  preparations  for  performing  himself,  ana 
went  on  the  stage  the  moment  he  got  his  cue,  much  to  the 
astonishment  of  his  friends,  and  greatly  to  the  surprise  of  some 
individuals  connected  with  the  management  of  the  theatre,  who 
had  anticipated  a  very  different  result  from  his  visit  to  Bir- 



1808  TO  1809. 

Covent  Garden  Theatre  destroyed  by  fire — Grimaldi  makes  a  trip  to  Manchester: 
he  meets  with  an  accident  there,  and  another  at  Liverpool — The  Sir  Hugh 
Middleton  Tavern  at  Sadler's  Wells,  and  a  description  of  some  of  its  fre- 
quenters, necessary  to  a  full  understanding  of  the  succeeding  chapter. 

Or  course  some  unforeseen  circumstance  was  to  happen,  and  some 
unexpected  demand  to  be  made  on  the  money  so  easily  earned. 
A  short  time  before  he  went  to  Birmingham,  being  short  of  cash, 
he  had  commissioned  a  friend  on  whom  he  placed  great  reliance 
to  get  his  bill  at  one  month  for  15QL  discounted.  The  friend  put 
the  bill  into  his  pocket-book,  and  promised  to  bring  the  money 
at  night.  Night  came,  but  the  money  did  not :  it  had  not 
arrived  when  he  returned  from  Birmingham ;  the  friend  was 
nowhere  to  be  found,  and  he  had  soon  afterwards  the  satisfaction 
of  paying  the  whole  sum,  without  having  received  a  sixpence  of 
the  money. 

During  the  season  of  1808,  at  Sadler's  Wells,  the  principal 
and  most  successful  part  he  had  was  in  a  burletta,  called  "Odd 
Eish ;  or,  Mrs.  Scaite  in  the  Seraglio."  His  two  benefits  were 
bumpers,*  and  the  theatre  closed  on  the  26th  of  September,  after 
another  most  profitable  campaign. 

The  Covent  Garden  season  which  had  terminated  on  the  13th 
of  July,f  recommenced  on  the  12th  of  September.  Seven  days 

*  Grimaldi's  two  benefits  at  Sadler's  "Wells,  were  special  favours  granted  to 


or,  Off  She  Goes."  In  the  former,  he  sang  the  afterwards  popular  ditty  of  the 
"  Smithfield  Bargain,  or  Will  Patty;"  in  the  latter  the  songs  of  "Oh!  my 
deary!"  and  "A  Bull  in  a  China  Shop."  The  season,  which  continued  till 
November  the  first,  concluded  with  a  grand  Aquatic  Komance,  called  the 
"  Magic  Minstrel ;"  in  this  piece  Grimaldi  played  Mulock ;  and  Darnsit,  after- 
wards of  Covent  Garden,  the  part  of  Oberon,  the  Magic  Minstrel.  In  the 
pantomime  of  "  Harlequin's  Lottery,"  in  which  Mrs.  Cawse,  (who  died  in  1845,) 
personated  Fortune,  the  chief  scenes  had  reference  to  Bish's  far-famed  lottery 

t  The  season  of  1807-8,  at  Covent  Garden,  closed  June  27th,  1808,  not  the 
13th  of  July.  That  of  1808-9,  began  September  12th,  and  on  Monday  19th  were 
performed  "  Pizarro,"  and  the  "  Portrait  of  Cervantes."  About  four  o'clock  on 
the  following  morning,  flames  were  seen  to  issue  from  the  roof,  alarm  was  given, 
but  too  late ;  in  two  hours  more,  the  whole  theatre,  all  the  adjacent  buildings 
in  Hart-street  and  Bow-street,  were  a  pile  of  smouldering  ruins.  The  fire  was 
occasioned  by  leaving  a  German  stove  in  the  property-room,  charged  with  fuel, 
after  the  man  had  left ;  the  pipe  is  supposed  to  have  conducted  the  heat  to  tlit 
roof,  which  by  that  means  took  fire.  The  Covent  Garden  Company  continued 
their  season  at  the  King's  Theatre,  from  September  28th  till  December  3rd,  anrf 
removed  to  the  Haymarket  on  December  5th 


afterwards  the  theatre  was  .burned  to  the  ground,  after  the  per- 
formance of  "  Pizarro,"  and  the  "  Portrait  of  Cervantes."  The 
company  removed  to  the  Italian  Opera-house,  and  subsequently 
to  the  Haymarket ;  but  as  Grinialdi  was  not  wanted,  he  availed 
himself  of  an  offer  to  visit  the  Manchester  theatre,  then  managed 
by  Messrs.  Ward,  Lewis,  and  Knight,  and  left  town  for  that 
purpose.  There  was  a  strong  rivalry  between  the  coach  pro- 
prietors on  the  road  at  that  time,  but  for  the  safety  of  the  pas- 
sengers, it  was  expressly  understood  between  them,  that  the 
coaches  should  never  be  allowed  to  pass  each  other,  but  that  the 
coach  which  took  the  lead  at  starting  should  retain  it  all  the 
way  through,  unless  any  temporary  stoppage  of  the  first  vehicle 
enabled  the  second  to  assume  the  post  of  honour.  Grimaldi's 
coach  was  the  last,  and  just  as  they  were  going  into  Macclesfield, 
the  Defiance,  (which  was  the  name  of  the  other  coach,)  stopping 
to  change  horses  and  to  allow  the  passengers  to  take  tea,  became 
entangled  with  the  wheels  of  the  second  vehicle  in  the  darkness 
of  the  evening  ;  and  when  the  second  coach  overset,  which  it  did 
immediately,  the  empty  Defiance  fell  upon  the  top  of  it  so  neatly 
and  dexterously,  that  the  passengers  were  obliged  to  be  dragged 
through  the  two  coaches  before  they  could  be  extricated.  Eor- 
tunately  nobody  was  much  hurt,  although  Grimaldi  was  the 
worst  off,  for  he  was  the  undermost,  and  five  stout  men  (they 
carried  six  inside  at  that  time)  fell  on  the  top  of  him.  The  only 
disagreeable  part  of  the  matter  was,  that  they  were  delayed  up- 
wards of  four  hours,  and  that  the  unfortunate  Defiance  was  left 
both  literally  and  figuratively  on  the  road  for  a  much  longer 

During  this  provincial  trip,  he  played  six  nights  at  Man« 
Chester  and  one  at  Liverpool,  for  which  he  received  in  all  2511. 
The  only  drawback  upon  the  expedition  was,  that  he  sustained 
two  accidents,  the  effects  of  which  were  quite  bad  enough,  but 
might  have  been  much  more  serious.  He  arranged  and  got  up 
a  very  pretty  little  pantomime  called  "Castles  in  the  Air,"  in 
which  he  of  course  played  Clown.  His  first  appearance  was  to 
be  from  a  large  bowl,  placed  in  the  centre  of  the  stage,  and 
labelled  "  Gooseberry  Fool  ;"*  to  pass  through  which,  it  was 
necessary  for  him  to  ascend  from  beneath  the  stage,  through  a 
trap-  door  which  the  bowl  concealed.  On  the  first  night  of  the 
piece  he  ascended  from  below  at  the  proper  time  ;  but  when  he 
gained  the  level  of  the  stage,  the  ropes  which  were  attached  to 
the  trap  broke,  and  he  fell  back  into  the  cellar,  from  which  he 
had  just  risen.  He  was  terribly  shaken  and  stunned  by  the  fall, 
but  quickly  recovering  himself,  he  ascended  the  stairs,  went  on 
the  stage,  and  played  as  though  nothing  had  happened  to  dis- 
compose him.  In  spite  of  his  assumed  calmness,  however,  he 

*  "  Castles  in  the  Air ;  or,  Columbine  Cowslip,"  was  not  produced  till  the 
close  of  the  season  of  1809,  at  Sadler's  Wells. 

160  UlEMOlns  OF  JOSEl>tt  GHIMALDI. 

was  in  agony during  the  whole  of  the  first  scene ;  but  the  pain 
wholly  left  him  as  he  went  on,  in  the  excitement  of  the  part ; 
and  by  the  time  he  had  finished  the  pantomime,  he  was  as  well 
as  he  had  been  before  its  commencement. 

This  was  at  Manchester.  The  Liverpool  Theatre  belonging 
to  the  same  managers,  and  being  resorted  to  by  the  same  com- 
pany, they  all  travelled  thither  for  one  night,  for  the  purpose  of 
playing  "  Castles  in  the  Air,"  as  the  afterpiece,  having  the  same 
master-carpenter  with  them  as  they  had  at  Manchester.  Grimaldi 
sought  the  man  out,  and  explaining  to  him  the  nature  of  the 
accident  which  had  happened  through  his  negligence  on  the 
previous  night,  entreated  him  to  render  all  secure  for  that  even- 
ing, and  to  prevent  a  repetition  of  the  occurrence.  This  he 
promised,  but  failed  to  do  notwithstanding,  for  a  precisely 
similar  accident  took  place  here.  Grrimaldi  had  ascended  to  the 
stage,  and  got  his  head  through  the  bowl,  when,  as  a  shout  of 
laughter  and  welcome  broke  from  the  audience,  the  ropes  gave 
way,  and  he  was  left  struggling  in  the  trap.  For  a  second  or 
two  he  did  not  fall ;  for,  having  passed  through  the  trap  nearly 
to  his  waist,  he  strove  to  support  himself  by  his  arms.  All  his 
endeavours,  however,  were  vain ;  the  weight  of  his  body  pulled 
him  downwards,  and  the  trap  being  small  his  elbows  were 
caught  by  the  edges,  and  forced  together  above  his  head,  thereby 
straining  his  shoulders  to  such  an  extent  that  he  thought  his 
arms  were  wrested  from  their  sockets.  He  fell  a  considerable 
distance,  and  when  he  rose  from  the  ground,  was  in  excessive 
p^ain.  He  managed  with  great  difficulty  to  crawl  through  the 
first  scene,  and  then  warming  with  his  exertions  and  kindling 
with  the  great  applause  he  received,  he  rallied  successfully,  and 
got  through  the  part  with  flying  colours. 

When  he  reached  his  inn,  which,  now  that  the  excitement  of 
acting  was  over,  was  a  task  of  considerable  difficulty,  he  was 
well  rubbed  with  the  infallible  embrocation,  and  put  to  bed  in  a 
very  helpless  state.  On  the  following  morning,  scarcely  able  to 
crawl,  he  was  assisted  into  the  coach,  and  returned  home. 

Grimaldi  acted  very  little  at  the  Haymarket  *  with  the  Co  vent 
Garden  Company,  till  after  Christmas,  when  "  Mother  Goose" 
was  revived,  with  a  new  last  scene,  representing  the  ruins  of 
Covent  Garden  Theatre,  transformed  by  a  touch  of  Harlequin's 
wand  into  a  new  and  splendid  building.  In  March  he  sustained 
for  the  first  time  the  character  of  Kanko  in  "La  Perouse."  He 

*  Grimaldi  was  not  in  requisition  for  any  part  at  the  Haymarket,  till  "Mother 
Goose"  was  revived  with  two  new  scenes,  and  subsequently  a  third,  on  Monday, 
December  26, 1808.  "  La  Perouse"  was  revived,  "for  the  first  time  these  four 
s,"  on  Thursday,  January  26,  1809,  and  not  in  March,  as  here  stated.  La 

Perouse  was  performed  by  Bologna,  junior ;  Madame  Perouse,  by  Miss  Bristow; 
Umba,  by  Miss  Adams;  Kanko,  suitor  to  Umba,  by  Mr.  Grimaldi;  their 
first  appearance  in  those  characters.  The  eighteenth  representation  was  on 


took  his  benefit  on  the  23rd  of  May.*  The  season  terminated 
a  few  nights  afterwards ;  and  with  it,  it  may  be  incidentally- 
observed,  terminated  the  theatrical  career  of  the  celebrated 
Lewis,  who  retired  from  the  stage  at  this  period. 

Sadler's  Wells  presented  no  particular  novelty  in  1809.t  Its 
chief  production  was  a  piece  called  "Johnnie  Armstrong,"  in 
which  Grimaldi  played  Kirstie,  a  kind  of  "  Touchstone :"  it  was 
very  successful,  and  the  season  closed,  as  all  the  Sadler's  Wells 
seasons  did  at  that  time,  with  great  profits. 

Before  adverting  to  the  little  adventure  arising  out  of  one  of 
the  nocturnal  rides  to  which  reference  has  been  already  made,  it 
will  be  necessary  to  mention  a  few  circumstances,  upon  which 
such  interest  as  it  possesses  mainly  depends. 

The  pantomime  was  usually  played  first,  at  Sadler's  Wells. 
When  this  was  the  case  Grimaldi  was  at  liberty  by  about  half- 
past  eight :  he  would  sometimes  call  at  the  Sir  Hugh  Myddleton, 
and  take  a  glass  o£  wine  and  water  with  some  friends  who  fre- 
quented the  house,  and  then  start  off  in  his  gig  to  Einchley. 

He  had  several  times  met  at  this  tavern  a  young  man  of  the 
name  of  George  Hamilton,  a  working  jeweller,  residing  some- 
where in  Clerkenwell,  a  sociable  good-tempered  merry  fellow 
enough,  but  rather  too  much  addicted  to  drinking  and  squander- 
ing his  money.  This  man  was  very  sensitive  upon  the  subject 
of  trade,  being,  as  the  phrase  goes,  above  his  business,  having  an 
ambition  to  be  a  gentleman,  and  resenting  any  allusion  to  his 
occupation  as  a  personal  afiront.  He  was  a  very  ingenious  and 
skilful  man  at  his  business,  and  could  earn  a  great  deal  of  money; 
but  his  companions  suspected  that  these  absurdities  led  him  into 
spending  more  than  he  could  well  afford.  Grimaldi  was  so 
strongly  impressed  with  this  opinion,  that,  with  a  good-hearted 
impulse,  he  frequently  felt  tempted  to  remonstrate  with  him 
upon  his  folly.  Their  slight  intimacy,  however,  restrained  him, 
and  the  man  continued  to  take  his  own  course. 

These  were  his  mental  peculiarities :  he  had  a  remarkable 
physical  peculiarity  besides,  wanting,  either  from  an  accident 

*  On  Joe's  benefit  night  was  performed  the  "Busy  Body;"  Marplot,  by  Mr. 
Lewis;  and  "Mother  Goose."  Mr.  Lewis  took  his  final  leave  of  the  stage,  on 
the  29th,  as  the  Copper  Captain,  in  "Kule  a  Wife  and  Have  a  Wife  ;"  "The 
Ghost;"  and  "Valentine  and  Orson."  The  season  terminated  on  May  31st, 
with  the  "  Exile,"  and  "Valentine  and  Orson." 

t  Sadler's  Wells  opened  at  Easter,  April  3,  1809,  and  in  the  pantomime  of 
"  Fashion's  Fool ;  or,  The  Aquatic  Harlequin,"  Grimaldi  played  Clown,  and 
nane  the  songs  of  "  Odd  Fish,"  and  the  "  Whip  Club."  On  Whit  Monday,  May 
22,  he  played  the  Wild  Man,  in  the  Aquatic  Melo-Dramatic  Komance  of  "  The 
Wild  Man:  or,  Water  Pageant."  On  July  31,  a  new  Harlequinade,  called 
"Castles  in  the  Air;  or,  Columbine  Cowslip,"  was  produced.  Grimaldi  played 
Clown,  with  the  Song  of  "  Looney's  Lamentation  for  Miss  Margery  Muggins," 
and  a  quartetto  caricatura,  called  "Cut  and  Come  Again;  or,  The  Clown's 
Ordinary."  On  Mrs.  C.  Dibdin's  night,  October  16,  Grimaldi,  in  compliment 
to  her,  sang  three  new  songs,  in  addition  to  those  pertaining  to  "  Castles  in  th« 


or  a  natural  defect,  the  third  finger  of  his  left  hand.  "Whether 
he  wished  to  conceal  this  imperfection,  or  had  some  other  defect 
in  the  same  hand,  is  uncertain ;  hut  he  invariably  kept  his  little 
finger  in  a  bent  position  beneath  the  palm  of  it ;  so  that  when  he 
sat,  or  walked,  as  he  usually  did,  with  his  left  hand  half  hidden 
in  his  pocket,  the  defect  was  not  observable ;  but  when  he  sud- 
denly changed  his  position,  or  drew  forth  his  hand  in  discourse, 
it  had  always  the  appearance  of  having  only  two  fingers 
upon  it. 

Grirnaldi's  first  acquaintance  with  this  person  was  in  1808, 
when  he  was  very  frequently  at  Sadler's  Wells,  and  the  Sir 
Hugh  Myddleton^  At  tne  termination  of  the  summer  season  he 
lost  sight  of  him,  in  consequence  of  his  engagements  taking  him 
elsewhere ;  but  in  Easter  1809,  when  Sadler's  Wells  re-opened, 
and  Grimaldi  resumed  his  habit  of  calling  at  the  tavern  for  half 
an  hour  or  so,  before  driving  out  to  Finchley,  he  again  encoun- 
tered him.  ^  He  had  been  married  in  the  interval,  and  frequently 
took  his  wife,  a  pretty  young  creature,  to  the  tavern  with  him, 
as  at  that  time  many  tradesmen  in  the  neighbourhood  were 
accustomed  to  do. 

Grimaldi  paid  little  attention  to  these  circumstances  at  first ; 
"but  a  change  had  come  over  the  man  which  irresistibly  attracted 
his  attention.  He  had  become  very  violent  and  irritable, — had 
acquired  a  nervous  restlessness  of  manner,  an  occasional  inco- 
herence of  speech,  a  wildness  of  look,  and  betrayed  many  other 
indications  of  a  mind  somewhat  disordered.  He  dressed  differ- 
ently too  :  formerly  he  had  been  neatly  attired,  and  looked  like 
a  respectable,  well-doing  man  ;  but  now  he  was  showy  and 
gaudy,  wore  a  number  of  large  rings  and  other  articles  of  cheap 
jewellery,  and  his  desire  to  be  thought  a  great  man  had  increased, 
greatly, — so  much  so,  indeed,  that  his  declamations  against  trade 
and  all  concerned  in  it,  deeply  affronted  the  worthies  who  were 
wont  to  assemble  at  the  Sir  Hugh,  and  occasioned  many  disputes 
and  altercations. 

All  these  things  evidently  made  the  wife  very  unhappy.  Al- 
though he  usually  abstained  from  drinking  to  his  customary 
excess  in  her  presence,  he  said  and  did  enough  to  make  her 
wretched,  and  frequently,  when  she  thought  she  was  unobserved, 
she  would  sit  in  a  remote  corner  and  weep  bitterly. 

One  night,  Hamilton  brought  with  him  a  new  friend,  a  man 
of  very  sinister  appearance  and  marvellously  ill-favoured  coun- 
tenance. They  were,  or  affected  to  be,  both  greatly  intoxicated. 
The  strange  man  was  introduced  by  his  friend  to  Grimaldi,  and 
began  entering  into  conversation  with  him ;  but  as  there  was 
something  remarkably  repulsive  in  his  appearance,  he  rose  and 
left  the  room. 

The  two  men  came  together  very  often.  Nobody  knew  who 
or  what  the  stranger  was  ;  nobody  liked  or  even  spoke  to  him  ; 
and  it  was  constantly  observed  that  whenever  Hamilton  was  in 


a  state  of  gross  intoxication,  he  was  in  this  person's  company. 
The  old  visitors  of  the  Sir  Hugh  shook  their  heads  mysteriously, 
and  hoped  he  had  not  fallen  into  bad  company ;  although,  truth 
to  tell,  they  could  not  help  thinking  that  appearances  were 
greatly  against  him. 

One  night  Grimaldi  was  sitting  alone  in  the  room,  reading 
the  newspaper,  when  Hamilton,  the  stranger,  and  the  poor  wife 
came  in  together.  The  former  was  in  a  state  of  intoxication, 
so  much  so  that  he  could  scarcely  stand.  The  wife  had  evidently 
been  crying,  and  seemed  truly  wretched ;  but  the  strange  man 
wore  an  air  of  dogged  triumph  that  made  him  look  perfectly 

Curious  to  see  what  passed,  Grimaldi  held  the  paper  before 
his  face,  and  watched  them  closely.  They  did  not  recognise 
him,  but  walked  to  the  other  end  of  the  room.  Hamilton  hic- 
coughed forth  an  order  for  something  to  drink,  stammering  in 
reply  to  the  earnest  entreaties  of  his  wife,  that  he  would  go 
home  directly  he  had  taken  "this  one  glass  more."  It  was 
brought,  but  not  tasted,  for  his  head  had  fallen  upon  the  table, 
and  he  was  fast  asleep  before  the  liquor  came. 

The  man  whom  he  nad  _  a  minute  before  named  for  the  first 
time — Archer  he  called  him — regarded  his  sleeping  companion 
in  silence  for  some  minutes,  and  then  leaning  behind  him  to 
reach  the  wife,  who  was  on  the  other  side,  touched  her  lightly 
on  the  shoulder.  She  looked  up,  and  he,  pointing  with  a  con- 
temptuous air  to  the  sleeping  drunkard,  took  her  hand  and 
pressed  it  in  a  manner  which  it  was  impossible  to  misunderstand. 
She  started  indignantly  from  her  seat,  and  darted  at  the  man  a 
look  which  completely  quelled  him.  He  sat  with  his  arms 
folded,  and  his  eyes  fixecl  on  the  ground  for  above  a  quarter  of 
an  f  hour,  and  then,  suddenly  rousing  himself,  tendered  his 
assistance  in  attempting  to  awaken  the  husband.  His  harsh 
voice  and  rough  gestures  accomplished  what  the  whispered  per- 
suasion of  the  wife  had  been  unable  to  effect :  Hamilton  awoke, 
emptied  his  glass,  and  they  all  left  the  apartment  together: 
she  studiously  avoiding  any  contact  with  the  man  called 

This  little  scene  interested  the  observer  much.  He  sat  think- 
ing upon  what  had  passed,  so  long,  that  he  was  upwards  of  an 
hour  later  than  usual  in  reaching  home.  He  felt  a  strong  in- 
clination to  speak  to  Hamilton,  and  kindly  but  firmly  to  tell 
him  what  he  had  seen,  and  what  he  thought.  On  consideration, 
however,  he  determined  not  to  interfere,  deeming  it  more  pru- 
dent to  leave  the  issue  to  the  good  sense  and  proper  feeling  of 
his  wife,  who  evidently  knew  what  danger  threatened  her,  and 
how  to  avert  it. 

The  situation  of  these  persons  occupied  so  much  of  his 
thoughts,  that  when  he  called  as  usual  at  the  tavern  next  night, 
he  felt  a  strong  anxiety  to  meet  them  there  again.  He  was 

1C  8 


disappointed,  for  Hamilton  was  seated  in  the  room  alone.  Be 
nodded  as  Grimaldi  entered,  and  said, 

"  Are  you  going-  to  Finchley  to-night  ?" 

"  No,"  was  the  reply ;  "  I  wish  I  was :  I  have  an  engagement 
at  my  house  here  in  town  which  will  prevent  my  doing  so;" 

"  I  thought  you  always  went  there  on  summer  evenings,"  said 
Hamilton,  glancing  over  the  paper  as  he  spoke,  and  speaking  in 
in  uninterested  and  careless  style 

" JSTo,  not  always,"  said  Grimaldi:  "pretty  nearly  though — 
five  nights  out  of  six." 

"  Then  you'll  go  to  morrow  r"  asked  Hamilton. 

"  Oh,  certainly  !  to-morrow,  and  every  night  this  week  except 

They  exchanged  a  "  Good-evening  !"  and  parted. 

It  so  happened  that  Grimaldi  was  reluctantly  ohliged  to 
remain  in  town,  not  only  next  night,  but  the  night  after  also, 
in  consequence  of  the  arrival  in  town  of  some  country  friends. 
On  the  third  night,  the  9th  of  July,  he  called  at  the  tavern  to 
take  his  usual  glass,  before  mounting  his  gig,  and,  fris  mind 
being  still  occupied  with  thoughts  of  the  poor  young  woman  and 
her  dissipated  husband,  he  inquired  whether  Hamilton  had 
been  there  that  night.  The  reply  was,  he  had  not :  he  had  not 
been  there  for  three  evenings,  or,  in  other  words,  since  he  had 
seen  and  spoken  to  him. 

When  Grimaldi  produced  his  purse  to  pay  for  the  wine  and 
water  he  had  drunk,  he  found  ne  had  nothing  but  two  five- 
pound  notes.  _  He  gave  the  waiter  one,  requesting  change,  and 
put  the  other  in  his  waistcoat  pocket.  He  usually  carried  notes 
in  a  pocket-book,  but  upon  this  evening  he  did  not  happen  to 
have  it  about  him  ;  in  fact,  he  had  received  the  notes  very  un- 
expectedly while  he  was  in  the  theatre,  from  a  person  who  owed 
him  money.  He  put  the  change  in  his  purse,  got  into  the  gig, 
and  drove  homeward. 

On  that  particular  evening  Grimaldi  had  a  call  to  make  in 
Tottenham- court-road,  which  delayed  him  for  some  little  time. 
As  he  was  passing  through  Kentish  Town,  a  friend,  who  was 
standing  at  his  door,  the  weather  being  sultry,  insisted  upon  his 
coming  in  and  taking  a  glass  of  wine :  this  detained  him  again, 
as  they  stood  chatting  for  half  an  hour  or  so  ;  and  by  the  time 
he  had  resumed  his  journey  homewards  it  was  near  the  middle 
of  the  night. 



His  Adventure  on  Highgate  Hill,  and  its  consequences. 

IT  was  a  fine,  clear  night ;  there  was  no  moon,  but  the  stars 
were  shining  brightly;  the  air  was  soft  and  fresh,  and  very 
pleasant  after  the  heat  of  the  day.  Grimaldi  drove  on  at  a 
quicker  pace  than  usual,  fearing  that  they  might  be  alarmed  at 
home  by  his  being  so  late,  and  having  just  heard  some  distant 
clock  strike  the  three  quarters  after  eleven.  Suddenly  the 
horse  stopped. 

Near  the  spot  was  a  ridge  across  the  road  for  the  purpose  of 
draining  the  fields  on  the  higher  side,  forming  a  little  hollow, 
which  in  the  summer  was  dry,  and  in  the  winter  generally  full 
of  mud.  The  horse  knew  it  well,  being  accustomed  to  pause 
there  for  a  minute,  to  cross  the  ditch  slowly,  and  then  to  resume 
his  usual  trot.  Bending  forward  to  assure  himself  that  he  had 
arrived  at  this  part  of  the  road,  Grimaldi  heard  a  low  whistle, 
and  immediately  afterwards  three  men  darted  out  of  a  hedge. 
One  seized  the  horse's  bridle,  and  the  two  others  rushed  up,  one 
to  each  side  of  the  gig ;  then,  presenting  pistols,  they  demanded 
his  money.  • 

Grimaldi  sat  for  a  moment  quite  incapable  of  speaking,  the 
surprise  had  come  so  suddenly  upon  aim ;  but  hearing  the 
cocking  of  a  pistol  close  beside  him,  he  roused  himself,  and 
seeing  that  he  had  no  chance  against  three  armed  men,  cried, 

"Mercy,  gentlemen,  mercy !" 

"You  wont  be  hurt,"  said  the  man  on  his  left,  "  so  long  as 
you  give  your  money  directly." 

"Ho,  no,"  said  the  man  at  the  horse's  head,  "you  wont  be 
hurt.  Your  money  is  what  we  want." 

"You  shall  have  it,"  he  answered;  "but  I  expect  you  not 
to  injure  me."  He  fumbled  at  his  pocket  for  his  purse,  and 
while  doing  so  looked  narrowly  at  the  persons  by  whom  he  was 
attacked.  They  all  wore  black  crape  over  their  faces,  so  that 
not  a  feature  was  discernible,  and  were  clad  in  very  large  black 
frocks.  The  disguises  were  complete:  it  was  impossible  to 
make  out  anything  of  their  appearance. 

"Look  sharp!"  said  the  left-hand  man;  "the  money! — 
come,  we  can't  stay  here." 

Grimaldi  extricated  the  purse,  and  handed  it  to  the  speaker. 
The  man  at  the  horse's  head  looked  sharply  on,  and  cried, 


"  Tom,  what  has  he  given  you  ?" 

"  His  purse,"  was  the  reply. 

"  That  wont  do,"  said  the  man.  "  You  have  more  money 
about  you ;  I  know  you  have :  come,  hand  over,  will  ye  ? " 

"  I  have  not,  indeed,"  replied  Grimaldi.  "  Sometimes  I 
carry  a  little  in  my  pocket-book ;  but  to-night  I  forgot  to  bring 
it  with  me." 

"  You  have  more  money  with  you,  and  you  know  it,"  said  the 
man  who  held  the  bridle :  "  you  have  got  a  bank-note  in  your 
left-hand  waistcoat  pocket." 

The  circumstance  had  really  escaped  Grimaldi's  memory; 
but>  being  reminded  of  it,  he  drew  forth  the  note,  and  delivered 
it  to  the  man  to  whom  he  had  resigned  his  purse. 

"  It's  all  right,  Tom,"  said  the  man  on  his  right ;  "  we  had 
better  be  off  now." 

As  the  man  spoke,  he  moved  round  the  back  of  the  gig,  as  if 
with  the  intention  of  going  away.  It  was  the  first  time  he  had 
uttered  a  word,  and  his  voice  struck  Grimaldi  as  being  a  familiar 
one,  though  he  could  not,  in  his  confusion,  recollect  where  or 
when  he  had  heard  it.  He  had  no  time  to  reflect  on  the  matter, 
for  the  man  at  the  horse's  head  demanded  of  the  man  on  his 
left  whether  he  had  got  his  watch. 

"No,"  said  the  fellow,  "  I  forgot  his  watch.  Give  it  here  !" 
"With  these  words  he  again  raised  his  pistol,  which  had  been  all 
this  time,  and  still  was,  on  full  cock. 

Grimaldi  gave  it  up,  but  not  without  a  sigh,  for  ^it  was  the 
very  watch  which  had  been  presented  to  him  with  his  own  por- 
trait on  the  dial-plate.  As  ne  put  it  into  the  man's  hand,  he 

"  If  you  knew  who  I  am,  you  would  not  treat  me  in  this 

"  Oh,  we  know  you  well  enough,  Mr.  Grimaldi,"  said  the  man 
at  the  reins ;  "  we  have  been  waiting  for  you  these  three  nights, 
and  began  to  think  you  would  not  come  to-night." 

The  other  men  laughed,  and  the  man  whose  voice  had  struck 
him,  recommended  his  companion  to  give  the  watch  back 

"  Oh  yes,  I  dare  say  !"  said  the  man,  with  a  sneer,  who  held 
the  horse. 

"  Well,  I  don't  know,"  said  the  fellow  who  had  been  addressed 
as  Tom  ;  "I  don't  think  it's  worth  a  couple  of  pounds." 

"  No,  no,  it  is  not ;  and  besides,  I  say  he  shall  have  it  again," 
cried  the  man,  whose  voice,  familiar  at  first,  now  seemed  per- 
fectly well  known  to  Grimaldi.  "Here!"  He  snatched  the 
watch  from  his  comrade's  hand,  who  made  no  effort  to  retain  it, 
and  handed  it  into  the  gig.  Grimaldi  gladly  received  it  back ; 
but,  in  the  act  of  doing  so,  he  saw  that  the  hand  from  which 
he  took  it  had,  or  appeared  to  have,  but  two  fingers  upon  it. 

The  watch  was  no  sooner  returned  than  the  robbers  made  off 


with  great  rapidity,  and  he  was  once  again  alone,  in  a  far  greater 
state  of  alarm  and  trepidation  than  when  the  robbers  surrounded 
him.  The  revulsion  of  feeling  was  so  great,  that  he  felt  as  if  his 
existence  depended  upon  instant  flight,  and  that  his  flight  would 
be  far  more  speedy  if  he  ran  than  if  he  rode.  Acting  upon  the 
impulse  of  his  disordered  nerves,  he  sprang  at  once  out  of  the 
gig,  but,  not  jumping  sufficiently  high  to  clear  it,  was  thrown, 
into  the  road,  head  foremost,  with  great  force,  and  struck  his 
temple  heavily  against  a  flint.  The  blow  and  the  previous 
fright  quite  bewildered  him,  but  did  not  render  him  insensible ; 
he  was  up  again  directly,  and  found  himself,  at  the  expiration 
of  some  ten  minutes,  stopped  by  the  patrol,  to  whom  he  was 
well  known.  He  had  no  recollection  of  running,  but  he  had  run 
for  a  long  distance,  and  the  first  thing  he  was  conscious  of,  was 
the  being  half-supported  by  this  man,  and  receiving  many  eager 
inquiries  what  had  befallen  him. 

Grimaldi  spoke  as  plainly  as  his  agitation  would  permit,  and 
related  what  had  passed. 

"  Just  what  I  have  expected  to  happen  to  somebody  for  these 
many  nights  past,"  said  the  patrol.  "  Sir,  I  have  watched  thosa 
three  men  repeatedly ;  it  was  only  last  night  I  warned  'em  that 
I  did  not  like  to  see  them  loitering  about  my  beat,  and  that  if 
anything  wrong  happened  I  should  suspect  them.  Make  your 
mind  easy,  sir ;  I  know  where  they  are  to  be  found,  and  I'll  lay 
my  life  that  in  less  than  two  hours  I  have  them  safe." 

"  And  what  am  I  to  do  ?"  Grimaldi  inquired. 

"  Nothing  to-night,  sir,"  was  the  patrol's  reply ;  "  I  would 
only  recommend  you  to  get  home  as  fast  as  you  can.  At  twelve 
o'clock  to-morrow,  you  attend  at  Bow  Street;  and  if  I  don't 
show  you  the  men,  I  shall  be  as  much  surprised  as  you  have 
been  to-night." 

The  horse  came  up  just  then,  having  trotted  on  very  com- 
posedly, with  the  gig  at  his  heels :  taking  the  patrol's  advice, 
Grimaldi  got  in,  ana  haying  promised  to  meet  him  next  morn- 
ing, made  the  best  of  his  way  home,  which  he  reached  without 
further  hindrance  or  interruption. 

Grimaldi  found  his  wife,  as  he  had  expected,  very  much 
terrified  at  his  being  so  late ;  nor  were  her  fears  allayed  by  his 
wild  demeanour  and  the  appearance  of  the  blow  on  his  temple. 
To  her  hurried  inquiries  he  gave  the  best  answers  that  occurred 
to  him,  and  being  unwilling  to  give  her  any  unnecessary  alarm, 
merely  remarked,  that  he  had  a  fall  from  his  gig,  which  had 
made  him  giddy  and  uncomfortable.  The  pains  he  afterwards 
took  to  keep  the  real  truth  from  coming  to  her  knowledge  were 
infinite.  Every  newspaper  that  came  into  the  house  he  care- 
fully searched,  to  ascertain  that  it  contained  no  paragraph  rela- 
tive to  the  robbery ;  and  so  successful  were  his  precautions,  that 
she  had  not  the  least  inkling  of  the  circumstance  until  more 
than  two  years  afterwards,  upon  their  giving  up  the  cottage  at 


Finchley,  and  returning  to  town ;  when  her  first  exclamation 
was,  "  Oh,  Joe,  if  I  had  only  known  this  at  the  time,  I  never 
could  have  slept  another  night  in  Finchley !" 

This  was  exactly  what  Grimaldi  had  supposed,  and  he  was 
not  a  little  delighted  to  find  that  he  had  been  enabled  to  remain 
during  the  whole  of  that  tune  in  a  place  to  which  he  was  very 
much  attached,  and  where,  in  the  society  of  his  wife  and  child, 
he  had  spent  some  of  the  happiest  hours  of  his  existence 

Grimaldi  got  very  little  sleep  after  the  robbery,  his  thoughts 
turning  all  night  upon  the  distressing  consequences  it  seemed 
likely  to  involve.  That  Hamilton  was  one  of  the  men,  he  felt 
pretty  well  sure :  the  voice  and  defect  in  the  left  hand  were 
strong  proofs  against  him.  Added  to  this,  there  was  other  evi- 
dence, circumstantial,  it  is  true,  but  still  very  weighty.  It  was 
plain,  from  the  knowledge  which  one  of  the  thieves  possessed 
relative  to  the  note,  that  he  or  some  one  connected  with  him 
had  been  at  the  tavern  in  the  earlier  part  of  the  night,  and  had 
there  closely  watched  his  actions.  The  doubtful  character  of 
Archer,  and  his  suspicious  looks  and  manner,  had  struck  him 
often ;  the  thieves  had  been  waiting  three  nights,  and  for  three 
nights  Hamilton  had  been  absent  from  his  usual  place  of  resort. 
The  more  he  thought  of  these  things,  the  more  sure  he  felt  that 
Hamilton  was  a  highwayman :  then  came  the  reflection,  that  if, 
upon  his  evidence,  he  was  sentenced  to  death,  it  would  most 
probably  involve  the  fate  of  his  young  wife,  of  whose  meekness 
and  gentleness  he  had  seen  so  many  tokens.  He  tossed  and 
tumbled  through  the  night,  meditating  upon  these  things  over 
and  over  again ;  he  rose  the  following  morning  feverish  and  de- 
jected, trusting  the  thieves  might  escape  rather  than  that  he 
should  be  the  means  of  bringing  any  of  his  fellow-creatures  to  a 
violent  death,  or  dooming  others  to  living  and  hopeless  wretched- 

Pleading  an  early  call  to  rehearsal  as  the  reason  for  his  going 
so  early  to  town,  he  left  Finchley  immediately  after  breakfasts 
and  drove  to  Bow-street,  where  he  found  the  patrol  already 
waiting.  The  moment  he  caught  sight  of  the  man  and  observed 
the  air  with  which  he  approached  to  receive  him,  all  the  hopes 
which  he  had  involuntarily  nourished  evaporated,  and  he  felt 
terrified  at  the  thought  that  a  capital  prosecution  at  the  Old 
Bailey  was  certainly  reserved  for  him. 

"  Well,  sir,"  said  the  man,  as  he  helped  him  out  of  the  gig, 
"  it's  all  right.  I  have  got  three  men,  and  I  have  no  dxmbt  they 
are  the  fellows." 

Grimaldi's  distress  was  redoubled,  and  he  inquired,  tre  Tabling, 
whether  any  of  the  stolen  property  had  been  fouii  i  upon 

The  man  replied,  with  evident  chagrin,  he  had  not  succeeded 
so  far,  and  therefore  supposed  they  had  got  rid  of  the  booty 
before  he  found  them ;  but  if  they  were  sworn  to,  they  would  be 


Committed  at  once ;  and  that  when  it  was  known  among  their 
companions,  he  had  little  doubt  but  that  he  should  be  able  to 
trace  out  some  evidence  relative  to  the  note.  With  this  brief 
preparation,  he  led  Grimaldi  at  once  into  the  presence  of  the 
magistrate,  to  whom  he  recounted  the  particulars  of  the  robbery, 
hinting  that  as  he  had  not  been  personally  injured  by  the 
thieves,  he  had  no  wish  to  prosecute  if  it  could  be  avoided ; — an 
intimation  to  which  the  patrol  listened  in  high  dudgeon,  and 
which  the  magistrate  appeared  to  regard  with  some  doubt, 
merely  observing  that  the  circumstance^  might  possibly  be  taken 
into  consideration  with  a  view  to  the  mitigation  of  punishment, 
but  could  not  be  urged  or  recognised  at  all,  in  that  stage  of  the 

The  patrol  was  then  examined,  and,  after  stating  in  effect 
what  he  had  stated  to  Grimaldi  on  the  previous  night,  deposed 
that  he  had  taken  the  prisoners  into  custody  at  a  place  which  he 
named.  The  magistrate  inquired  whether  any  of  the  stolen 
property  had  been  found  upon  them  or  traced,  whether  any 
such  disguises  as  Mr.  Grrimaldi  had  described  were  discovered  in 
their  possession,  and  whether  any  suspicious  implements,  offen- 
sive or  defensive,  had  been  found  upon  them.  To  all  these 
questions,  the  patrol  answered  in  the  negative,  and  the  magis- 
trate then  ordered  that  Grrimaldi  should  be  taken  to  view  the 
prisoners.  He  also  inquired  if  Grimaldi  thought  he  should  reco- 
gnise them ;  who  replied  that  he  had  no  doubt  he  should  know 
one  of  the  men. 

Grimaldi  was  taken  into  another  room,  and  the  first  person  he 
saw  was,  as  he  expected,  George  Hamilton  himself:  the  other 
two  prisoners  were  perfect  strangers  to  him.  They  had  described 
themselves  to  the  magistrate  as  gentlemen ;  but  he  might  have 
exclaimed,  with  young  Mirabel,  "  For  gentlemen  they  have  the 
most  cut-throat  appearance  I  ever  saw." 

Hamilton  behaved  himself  with  great  coolness  and  self- 
possession;  he  advanced  without  the  least  appearance  of  agi- 
tation, and  said, 

"  How  do  you  do,  Mr.  Grimaldi  ?  It  is  an  odd  circumstance, 
is  it  not,  that  I  should  be  charged  with  robbing  an  old  friend 
like  you  ?  But  strange  coincidences  happen  to  all  of  us." 

Composed  as  the  man's  manner  was,  it'  Grimaldi  had  entered 
the  room  with  any  doubt  of  his  guilt,  it  was  at  once  and  entirely 
dispelled.  The  practised  eye  of  an  old  actor  was  not  so  easily 
deceived.  He  had  evidently  made  a  desperate  effort  to  assume 
an  easy  confidence  of  manner,  knowing  that  upon  the  success 
with  which  he  did  so,  depended  his  only  chance  of  escape  from 
the  gallows. 

"  Why,  what's  this !"  said  the  gaoler,  or  turnkey,  or  whoever 
had  accompanied  them  to  the  room.  "  Do  you  know  him,  sir  ?" 

"Yes,"  said  Grimaldi,  looking  hard  at  Hamilton,  "I  know 
nim  very  well." 


"  "Well,  then,  sir,  of  course  you  can  tell,  whether  he  is  one  of 
the  men  who  robbed  you ;" 

The  pause  which  ensued  was  of  not  more  than  two  or  three 
seconds'  duration,  but  it  was  a  trying  one  to  two  of  the  parties 

E resent.  Hamilton  looked  as  if  he  awaited  the  reply  without 
jar,  and  acted  the  innocent  man  boldly.  The  turnkey  and 
constable  turned  away  for  an  instant  to  speak  to  each  other ; 
and  as  they  did  so,  Grimaldi  held  up  his  left  hand,  turning 
down  two  of  the  fingers  in  imitation  of  Hamilton's,  and  shook 
his  head  gravely.  The  man  instantly  understood  his  meaning, 
and  saw  that  he  was  known.  All  his  assumed  fortitude  forsook 
him ;  his  face  became  ashy  pale,  and  his  whole  frame  trembled 
with  inward  agitation.  It  appeared  as  if  he  would  have  fallen 
on  the  floor,  but  he  rallied  a  little ;  and  after  bestowing  a  look 
of  intense  supplication  upon  Grimaldi,  laid  his  linger  on  his  lip, 
and  fixed  his  eyes  on  the  ground. 

"  Well,  sir,"  said  the  patrol,  "  there  they  are ;  can  you 
swear  to  them  all,  or  to  any  of  them  r" 

A  thousand  thoughts  crowded  through  Grimaldi's  brain,  but 
one  was  uppermost — the  desire  to  save  this  young  man,  whom 
he  strongly  suspected  to  be  but  a  beginner  in  crime.  Alter  a 
moment's  pause,  he  replied,  that  he  could  not  swear  to  any  one 
of  them. 

"  Then,"  said  the  turnkey  to  the  patrol,  with  a  meaning  look, 
"  either  you  have  gone  upon  a  wrong  scent  altogether,  or  these 
chaps  have  had  a  very  narrow  escape." 

After  informing  the  magistrate  that  it  was  not  in  his  power  to 
identify  the  prisoners,  Grimaldi  hurried  away.  The  men  were 
discharged  in  the  course  of  the  afternoon,  and  thus  terminated 
the  interview  at  the  police-office. 

A  day  or  two  afterwards,  Hamilton  called  at  Grimaldi's  house, 
and,  in  a  conversation  with  him,  humbly  acknowledged  that  he 
was  one  of  the  men  who  had  robbed  him ;  that  he  had  been 
incited  to  the  act,  partly  by  an  anxiety  to  acquire  money  faster 
than  he  could  make  it  in  trade,  and  partly  by  the  persuasions  of 
his  friend  Archer ;  but  that  it  was  his  first  attempt  at  crime,  and 
should  be  his  last.  He  thanked  his  benefactor  in  the  warmest 
and  most  grateful  manner  for  his  clemency ;  and  Grimaldi  then 
acquainted  him  with  the  designs  of  Archer  upon  his  wife, 
severely  reprobating  the  vicious  habits  which  had  led  him  to 
abandon  one  by  whose  means  he  might  have  been  rendered 
happy  and  respectable,  and  saved  from  his  guilty  career,  and 
leaving  her  exposed  to  the  insults  of  men  inured  to  every 
species  of  yillany  and  crime.  Hamilton  assured  him  that 
neither  his  information  nor  his  advice  was  ill  bestowed,  and 
alter  a  long  interview  they  parted,  he  pouring  forth  his  thanks 
and  promises  of  reformation,  and  Grimaldi  repeating  his  for- 
giveness and  his  admonitions. 

Grimaldi  had  reason  to  hope  that  Hamilton  kept  his  promise, 


and  shrunk  from  his  old  associates,  for  he  resided  nearly  twenty 
years  after  that  period  in  Clerkenwell,  carrying  on  a  good 
business,  and  bearing  the  reputation  of  an  honest  man. 

At  this  time  Grimaldi  was  in  the  habit  of  taking  three  bene- 
fits every  year ;  that  is  to  say,  two  at  Sadler's  Wells,  and 
one  at  Covent  Garden.  Begularly  on  the  morning  of  each  of 
these  occasions,  for  very  many  years,  _some  person  called  at  his 
house  for  ten  box-tickets,  always  paying  for  them  at  the  time, 
in  exactly  the  amount  required,  and  leaving  the  house  imme- 
diately, as  if  anxious  to  avoid  notice.  He  was  in  the  constant 
habit  of  receiving  anonymous  remittances  for  tickets,  and  there- 
fore did  not  attach  much  importance  to  this  circumstance, 
although  it  struck  him  as  being  singular  in  one  respect,  inas- 
much as  the  greater  part  of  his  friends  who  took  tickets  for  his 
Sadler's  Wells  benefits,  did  not  take  them  on  his  Covent  Garden 
nights,  and  vice  versa.  The  family  became  at  last  so  used  to  it, 
that  when  they  were  sorting  tickets  on  the  night  before  one  of 
his  benefits,  his  wife  would  regularly  say,  "  Don't  forget  to  put 
ten  on  the  mantelpiece  for  the  gentleman  who  calls  early  in  the 
morning."  This  continued  for  perhaps  twelve  years  or  more, 
when  one  day,  as  his  servant  was  giving  him  the  money,  paid 
as  usual  by  the  unknown  person  for  his  admissions,  he  casually 
inquired  of  the  girl  what  kind  of  person  in  appearance  this 
gentleman  was. 

"  Oh,  I  really  don't  know,  sir,"  she  replied ;  "  there  is  nothing 
particular  about  him,  except — " 

"Well,  except  what?" 

"Except,  sir,  that  he  has  only  got  two  fingers  on  his  left 

The  mystery  was  explained. 

The  fate  of  this  man  was  truly  pitiable.  A  neighbour's  house 
having  taken  fire,  and  being  in  imminent  hazard  of  destruction, 
Hamilton  rushed  in  with  several  others  to  save  some  children 
who  were  in  danger  of  perishing  in  the  flames.  He  darted  up 
stairs  through  the  smoke  and  reached  the  second  story.  The 
instant  he  set  his  feet  upon  it,  the  whole  flooring  gave  way,  and 
sank  with  him  into  the  mass  of  glowing  fire  below,  from  which 
his  body,  burnt  to  a  cinder,  was  dug  out  some  days  afterwards. 




1809  to  1812. 

Opening  of  the  new  Covent  Garden  Theatre— The  Great  O.  P.  Kows— Grimaldi'i 
first  appearance  as  Clown  in  the  public  streets— Temporary  Embarrassments 
— Great  success  at  Cheltenham  and  Gloucester — He  visits  Berkeley  Castle 
and  is  introduced  to  Lord  Byron — Fish  Sauce  and  Apple  Pie. 

ON  the  18th.  of  September  in  this  year,  the  new  theatre  in 
Covent  Garden  opened  with  Shakspeare's  tragedy  of  Macbeth 
and  the  musical  afterpiece  of  The  Quaker,  with  the  following 

casts : — 


Duncan,  King  of  Scotland 



Macbeth        . 




Lady  Macbeth 







Mr.  Chapman. 

Mr.  Claremont. 

Mr.  Menage. 

Mr.  John  Kemble. 

Mr.  Murray. 

Miss  Bristow. 

Mr.  Cresswell. 

Mr.  Brunton. 

Messrs.  Blanchard,  Farley 

and  Simmons. 
Mrs.  Siddons. 

Mr.  Incledon. 
Mr.  Taylor. 
Mr.  Liston. 
Miss  Bplton. 
Mrs.  Liston. 

It  was  at  this  period  that  the  great  0.  P.  Row  began,  of  which 
so  much  has  been  said,  and  sung,  and  written,  that  little  of 
novelty  or  interest  could  accompany  the  description  of  it  here. 
Everybody  knows  that  the  0.  P.  Row  originated  in  the  indigna- 
tion with  which  the  play-going  public  regarded  an  increase  in 
the  prices  of  admission  of  one  shilling  each  person  to  the  boxes, 
and  sixpence  to  the  pit,  with  which  was  coupled  a  considerable 
increase  in  the  number  of  private  boxes  ;  and  everybody  knows, 
moreover,  that  the  before-mentioned  play-going  public  expressed 
their  dissatisfaction  night  after  night  in  scenes  of  the  most  ex- 
traordinary and  unparalelled  nature.  The  noises  made  by  the 
audience  utterly  overwhelmed  every  attempt  that  the  actors 
could  make  to  render  themselves  audible.  Not  a  word  that  was 
said  on  the  stage  could  be  distinguished  even  in  the  front  row 


of  the  pit,  and  the  0.  P.  (Old  Price)  rioters,  fearful  that  the 
exercise  of  their  voices  would  not  create  sufficient  uproar,  were 
in  the  habit  of  bringing  the  most  extraordinary  variety  of  curi- 
ous and  ill-toned  instruments  with  them,  to  add  to  the  noise 
and  discordance  of  the  scene.  One  gentleman,  who  constantly 
seated  himself  in  the  boxes,  regaled  himself  and  the  company 
with  a  watchman's  rattle,  which  he  sprang  vigorously  at  short 
intervals  throughout  the  performances ;  another  took  his^  seat 
regularly  every  night  in  the  centre  of  the  pit,  armed  with  a 
large  dustman's  bell,  which  he  rang  with  a  perseverance  and 
strength  of  arm  quite  astounding  to  all  beholders ;»  and  a  party 
of  three  or  four  pleasant  fellows  brought  live  pigs,  which  were 
pinched  at  the  proper  times,  and  added  considerably  to  the 
effect  of  the  performances. 

But  rattles,  bells,  pigs,  trumpets,  French  horns,  sticks,  um- 
brellas, catcalls,  and  bugles,  were  not  the  only  vocal  weapons 
used  upon  these  occasions :  Kemble  was  constantly  called  for, 
constantly  came  on,  and  constantly  went  off  again  without  being 
able  to  obtain  a  hearing.  Numbers  of  Bow- street  officers  were 
in  regular  attendance :  whenever  they  endeavoured  to  seize  the 
ringleaders,  the  ringleaders  were  defended  by  their  partisans, 
and  numerous  fights  (in  one  of  which  a  man  was  nearly  killed) 
resulted.  Scarce  an  evening  passed  without  flaming  speeches 
being  made  from  pit,  boxes,  and  gallery;  and  sometimes  naif- a- 
dozen  speeches  would  be  in  course  of  delivery  at  the  same  time. 
The  greater  portion  of  the  time  of  the  magistrates  was  occupied 
in  investigations  connected  with  the  disturbances,  and  this  state 
of  things  continued  for  nearly  seventy  nights.  Placards  were 
exhibited  in  every  part  of  the  house,  principally  from  the  pit ; 
of  the  quality  of  wnich  effusions  the  following  may  be  taken  as 
specimens : — 

"Notice  to  the  Public. — This  house  and  furniture  to  be  sold, 
Messrs.  John  Kemble  &  Co.  declining  business." 

"Notice  to  the  Public. — The  workhouse  in  Covent  Garden 
has  been  repaired,  and  greatly  enlarged  for  the  use  of  the 

"  Cause  of  Justice. — John  Bull  versus  John  Kemble — verdict 
for  the  plaintiff." 

A  large  coffin  with  the  inscription,  "  Here  lies  the  body  of 
New  Prices,  who  died  of  the  whooping-cough,  Sept.  23,  1809, 
aged  six  days." 

*  The  gentleman  who  made  notes  of  Grimaldi's  recollections  subjoins  a  note 
to  the  effect,  that  the  gentleman  who  rang  the  bell  is  a  personal  acquaintance  of 
his,  and  that  he  has  repeatedly  heard  him  mention  the  circumstance,  which  he 

"  ,  butjwhich  he  considered  then 
was  at  that  time  in  his 

looks  back  upon  now  as  an  act  oi  thoughtless  folly,  but  wl 
as  the  performance  of  a  sacred  duty  to  the  public.    He 
nonage,  studying  (after  a  manner)  tf 
of  a  newspaper  published  in  Sussex. 

nonage,  studying  (after  a  manner)  the  law;  he  is  now,  and  has  loner  >>*«n,  editor 
published :'    " 


The  instant  the  performances  began,  the  audience,  who  had 
been  previously  sitting  with  their  faces  to  the  stage,  as  audi- 
ences generally  do,  wheeled  round  to  a  man,  and  turned  their 
backs  upon  it.  When  they  concluded,  which,  in  consequence  of 
the  fearful  uproar,  was  frequently  as  early  as  half-past  nine 
o'clock,  they  united  in  singing  a  parody  on  "God  save  the  King,: ' 
of  which  the  first  verse  ran  thus : — 

"  God  save  great  Johnny  Bull, 
Long  live  our  noble  Bull, 

God  save  John  Bull ! 
Send  him  victorious, 
Loud  and  uproarious, 
With  lungs  like  Boreas  ; 

God  save  John  Bull !" 

Then  followed  the  O.P.  dance  and  a  variety  of  speeches,  and 
then  the  rioters  would  quietly  disperse. 

The  opinions  of  the  press  being,  as  a  matter  of  course,  divided 
on  every  question,  were  necessarily  divided  upon  this.  The 
Times  and  Post  supported  the  new  system ;  in  consequence  of 
which  a  placard  was  exhibited  from  the  pit  every  evening  for  at 
least  a  week,  with  the  inscription, 

"  The  Times  and  Post  are  bought  and  sold, 
By  Kemble's  pride  and  Kemble's  gold." 

The  Chronicle)  on  the  other  hand,  took  up  the  opposite  side  of 
the  question,  and  supported  the  0.  P.  rioters  with  great  fervour 
and  constancy.  In  its  columns  one  of  the  most  popular  of  the 
numerous  squibs  on  the  subject  appeared,  which  is  here  inserted. 
It  may  be  necessary  to  premise  that  "  Jack,"  was  John  Kemble; 
that  the  "  Cat"  was  Madame  Catalani,  then  engaged  at  Covent 
Garden  Theatre,  and  who  was  much  opposed  at  that  time,  in 
consequence  of  her  being  a  foreigner ;  and  that  the  "  boxes" 
were  the  new  private  boxes,  among  the  great  objects  of  popular 


"  This  is  the  House  that  Jack  built. 

"  These  are  the  boxes,  let  to  the  great,  that  visit  the  house 
that  Jack  built. 

"  These  are  the  pigeon-holes,  over  the  boxes,  let  to  the  great, 
that  visit  the  house  that  Jack  built. 

"  This  is  the  Cat,  engaged  to  squall,  to  the  poor  in  the  pigeon- 
holes, over  the  boxes,  let  to  the  great,  that  visit  the  house  that 
Jack  built. 


"  This  is  John  Bull,  with  a  bugle-horn,  that  hissed  the  Cat, 
engaged  to  squall,  to  the  poor  in  the  pigeon-holes,  over  the 
boxes,  let  to  the  great,  that  visit  the  house  that  Jack  built. 

"  This  is  the  thief-taker,  shaven  and  shorn, 

That  took  up  John  Bull,  with  his  bugle-horn, 
who  hissed  the  Cat,  engaged  to  squall,  to  the  poor  in  the  pigeon- 
holes, over  the  boxes,  let  to  the  great.,  that  visit  the  house  that 
Jack  built. 

'*  This  is  the  manager,  full  of  scorn, 

Who  RAISED  THE  PRICES  to  the  people  forlorn, 

And  directed  the  thief-taker,  shaven  and  shorn, 

To  take  up  John  Bull,  with  his  bugle-horn, 
who  hissed  the  Cat,  engaged  to  squall,  to  the  poor  in  the  pigeon- 
holes, over  the  boxes,  let  to  the  great,  that  visit  the  house  that 
Jack  built." 

When  this  had  gone  on  for  several  nights,  Kemble  sent  for 
Grimaldi,  and  said,  that  as  the  people  would  not  hear  dialogue 
they  would  try  pantomime,  which  might  perhaps  suit  their 
tastes  better,  and  accordingly  "Don  Juan"*  was  put  up  for  the 
next  night,  Grimaldi  sustaining  his  old  part  of  Scaramouch. 
He  was  received  on  his  entrance  with  great  applause,  and  it 
happened  oddly  enough  that  on  that  night  there  was  little  or  no 
disturbance.  This  circumstance,  which  he  naturally  attributed 
in  some  degree  to  himself,  pleased  him  amazingly,  as  indeed  it 
did  Kemble  also,  who,  shaking  him  cordially  by  the  hand  when 
he  came  off,  said,  "  Bravo,  Joe  !  we  have  got  them  now :  we'll 
act  this  again  to-morrow  night."  And  so  they  did ;  but  it 
appeared  that  they  had  not  "  got  them"  either,  for  the  uproar 
recommenced  with,  if  possible,  greater  fury  than  before,  all  the 
performers  agreeing  that  until  that  moment  they  had  never 
heard  such  a  mighty  and  indescribable  din. 

Eventually,  on  the  fifteenth  of  December,!  the  famous  0.  P. 
row  terminated,  on  the  proprietors  of  the  theatre  lowering  the 
charge  of  admission  to  the  pit,  removing  the  obnoxious  pri- 
vate boxes,  rescinding  Madame  Catalani's  engagement,  dis- 
charging Mr.  James  Brandon,  house  and  box  book-keeper,  who 
had  rendered  himself  greatly  offensive  to  the  0.  P.  people, 
abandoning  all  prosecutions  against  those  who  had  been 
required  to  answer  for  their  misconduct  at  the  sessions,  and 

*  The  tragic  pantomimic  ballet  of  "  Don  Juan"  was  one  of  the  pieces  intended 
for  representation,  and  for  which  new  dresses  and  properties  had  to  be  pre- 
pared, without  reference  to  the  Old-Price  Riots,  and  was  played  for  the  first 
time  in  the  New  Theatre  on  November  20;  Scaramouch,  by  Mr.  Grimaldi; 
Donna  Anna,  by  Miss  Bristow.  The  piece  was  performed  several  nights  in 

t  Kemble  this  night  played  Penruddock,  in  the  "  Wheel  of  Fortune ;"  tii« 
afterpiece,  "  The  Blind  Boy." 


offering-  a  public  apology.  The  ungracious  task  of  making  it, 
fell  upon  Mr.  Kemble,  who  delivered  what  it  was  deemed  ne- 
cessary to  say,  with  remarkable  self-possession  and  dignity.  It 
was  received  by  the  audience  with  great  applause,  and  a  placard 
was  immediately  hoisted  in  the  pit,  bearing  the  words,  "  We 
are  satisfied ;"  it  was  speedily  followed  by  a  similar  announce- 
ment in  the  boxes ;  and  thus  terminated*  the  famous  0.  P. 
war,  wholly  unparalleled  in  dramatic  or  indeed  in  any  other 

At  Christmas,  "Harlequin  Pedlar,  or  the  Haunted  Well," 
was  produced :  it  met  with  very  great  success,  being  played 
fifty-two  nights.  In  March,  1810,  Grimaldi  first  appeared  as 
Skirmish  in  "The  Deserter  of  Naples ;"  and  "Mother  Goose" 
was  again  played.  The  theatre  closed  in  July,  and  reopened  in 
October,  f  Nothing  particular  new  was  done  that  season  at 
Sadler's  Wells.  At  Christmas,  1810,  he  appeared,  as  usual,  in 
the  Covent  Garden  pantomime,  which  was  called  "  Harlequin 
Asmodeus,  or  Cupid  on  Crutches."  It  was  acted  for  forty-six 
nights,  and  was  played  occasionally  until  May,  1811.J 

During  this  month  he  had  to  play  Clown  at  both  theatres,  the 
pantomime  being  acted  as  the  first  piece  at  Sadler's  Wells,  and 
as  the  last  piece  at  Covent  Garden.  Not  having  time  to  change 
his  dress,  and  indeed  having  no  reason  for  doing  so  if  he  had,  in 
consequence  of  his  playing  the  same  character  at  both  houses,  he 
was  accustomed  to  nave  a  coach  in  waiting,  into  which  he  threw 
himself  the  moment  he  had  finished  at  Sadler's  Wells,  and  was 
straightway  carried  to  Covent  Garden  to  begin  again. 

One  night  it  so  happened  that  by  some  forgetfulness  or  mis- 
take on  the  part  of  the  driver,  the  coach  which  usually  came  for 
him  failed  to  make  its  appearance.  It  was  a  very  wet  night, 
and  not  having  a  moment  to  lose,  he  sent  for  another.  After  a 
considerable  interval,  during  which  he  was  in  an  agony  of  fear 
lest  the  Covent  Garden  stage  should  be  kept  waiting,  the  mes- 
senger returned  in  a  breathless  state  with  tne  information  that 

*  It  was  resumed  on  the  opening  of  the  season  of  1810-11 ;  the  private  boxes 
remaining  the  same ;  on  September  18th  the  theatre  closed ;  the  obnoxious 
boxes  were  rendered  free  to  the  public,  and  on  the  24th,  peace  was  finally 

t  The  "  Deserter  of  Naples"  was  revived  at  Covent  Garden  on  May  23,  1810, 
not  in  March ;  nor  in  fact  was  this  G-rimaldi's  first  appearance  as  Skirmish.  He 
had  in  the  last  season,  in  the  Old  Theatre,  played  that  part  for  Mr.  Charles  Taylor's 
benefit,  June  3,  1808.  After  its  revival  in  May,  the  "  Deserter  of  Naples"  was 
repeated  a  few  nights  during  the  remnant  of  that  season.  "  Mother  Goose" 
was  again  revived  on  June  12th.  The  theatre  closed  on  July  6th,  and  re- 
opened for  the  season  of  1810-11,  on  September  10th,  not  October,  as  here 

J  Grimaldi  in  this  pantomime  introduced  the  happiest  of  his  creations — the 
vegetable  pugilistic  figure.  On  the  night  of  his  benefit  at  Covent  Garden,  June 
25th,  Joe  played  Acres  in  the  "  Eivals,"  as  the  bills  announced,  "for  this  night 
only."  "  Harlequin  and  Asmodeus"  followed,  for  the  forty-sixth  time.  The 
•eason  terminated  on  July  24, 1811. 


there  was  not  a  coach  to  be  got.  There  was  only  one  desperate 
alternative,  and  that  was  to  run  through  the  streets.  Knowing 
that  his  appearance  at  Coyent  Garden  must  by  this  time  be  ne- 
cessary, he  made  up  his  mind  to  do  it,  and  started  off  at  once. 

The  night  being  very  dark,  he  got  on  pretty  well  at  first ;  but 
when  he  came  into  the  streets  01  Clerkenwell,  where  the  lights 
of  the  shops  showed  him  in  his  Clown's  dress  running  along  at 
full  speed,  people  began  to  grow  rather  astonished.  First,  a  few 
people  turned  round  to  look  after  him,  and  then  a  few  more,  and 
so  on  until  there  were  a  great  many,  and  at  last,  one  man  who 
met  him  at  a  street  corner,  recognising  the  favourite,  gave  a 
loud  shout  of,  "Here's  Joe  Grimaldi !" 

This  was  enough.  Off  set  Grimaldi  faster  than  ever,  and  on 
came  the  mob,  shouting,  huzzaing,  screaming  out  his  name, 
throwing  up  their  caps  and  ^hats,  and  exhibiting  every  mani- 
festation of  delight.  He  ran  into  Holborn  with  several  hundred 
people  at  his  heels,  and  being  lucky  enough  to  find  a  coach 
there,  jumped  in.  But  this  only  increased  the  pressure  of  the 
crowd,  who  followed  the  vehicle  with  great  speed  and  perseve- 
rance ;  when,  suddenly  poking  his  head  out  of  the  window,  he 
gave  one  of  his  famous  and  well-known  laughs.  Upon  this  the 
crowd  raised  many  roars  of  laughter  and  applause,  and  hastily 
agreed,  as  with  one  accord,  that  they  would  see  him  safe  and 
sound  to  Covent  Garden.  So,  the  coach  went  on  surrounded  by 
the  dirtiest  body-guard  that  was  ever  beheld,  not  one  of  whom, 
deserted  his  post,  until  Grimaldi  had  been  safely  deposited  at 
the  stage-door ;  when,  after  raising  a  vociferous  cheer,  such  of 
them  as  had  money  rushed  round  to  the  gallery-doors,  and 
making  their  appearance  in  the  front  just  as  he  came  on  the 
stage,  set  up  a  boisterous  shout  of,  "Here  he  is  again!"  and 
cheered  him  enthusiastically,  to  the  infinite  amusement  of  every 
person  in  the  theatre  who  had  got  wind  of  the  story. 

In  the  season  of  1811,  "The  Great  Devil"  was  revived  at 
Sadler's  "Wells  :*  he  played  a  part  in  it  in  which  he  was  highly 
successful  and  applauded  to  the  very  echo.  In  July,  he  injured 
his  chest  severely  by  falling  upon  a  tight-rope,'  and  was  obliged 
for  several  weeks  to  give  up  all  his  %eatrical  engagements.  He 

*  Sadler's  Wells  opened  on  Easter  Monday,  April  15,  1811,  with  "Dulce 
Doraum ;"  Clown,  Mr.  Grimaldi,  with  two  new  songs,  "  A  Peep  at  Turkey," 
and  "Massena's  Retreat."  "  Harlequin  and  Blue  Be*rd"  followed  on  July  15, 
in  which  Joe,  in  the  character  of  Clown,  sang  "  Mr.  Greig  and  Mrs.  Snap  ;  or, 
Bubble,  Squeak,  and  Pettitoes."  The  season  extended  till  October.  At  Covent 
Garden,  September  30th,  "  Raymond  and  Agnes"  was  revived,  and  the  parts  of 
Jaques  and  Robert,  sons  of  Baptiste  the  robber,  were  played  by  Grimaldi  and 
Cardoza;  and  on  boring-night,  December  26th,  the  new  pantomime  called 
"  Harlequin  and  Padmanaba;  or,  The  Golden  Pish,"  in  which  Grimaldi  played 
Cayfacat  Adhri,  the  Persian  cook,  afterwards  Clown.  This  entertainment  was 
highly  attractive  :  several  embossed  prints  were  published  of  Joe's  drolly  trans- 
formed vehicle,  drawn  by  a  pair  of  dogs,  to  ridicule  the  superb  curricle  of  a 
West  Indian  gentleman  better  known  aa  Mr.  Ronceo  Coates. 


reappeared  at  Covent  Garden  in  October  following,*  playing  in 
" Asmodeus,"  "Mother  Goose,"  "Valentine  and  Orson,"  and 
"  Eaymond  and  Agnes ;"  in  the  latter  piece  he  supported,  for 
the  first  time,  the  part  of  Robert.  On  the  26th  of  December  the 
new  pantomime  appeared  ;  it  was  called  "Harlequin  and  Pad- 
manaba,  or  the  Golden  Fish,"  and  went  off  very  well. 

One  of  his  earlier  appearances  in  the  regular  drama  occurred 
in  the  following  June  (1812),f  when,  for  his  own  benefit,  he 
played  Acres  in  "  The  Bivals."  The  house  was  a  very  good  one, 
and  he  cleared  upwards  of  two  hundred  pounds  by  it. 

This  year  was  rendered  remarkable  to  him  by  some  temporary 
embarrassments  into  which  he  was  plunged,  partly,  he  says,  by 
the  great  expense  consequent  upon  keeping  a  country  as  well  as 
a  town  house,  and  partly  by  the  great  extravagance  of  his  wife, 
who,  although  an  excellent  woman,  had,  like  everybody  else, 
some  fault ;  Tiers  was  a  love  of  dress  which  almost  amounted  to 
a  mania.  Finding  that  retrenchment  must  be  the  order  of  the 
day,  he  gave  up  his  house  at  Finchley,  discharged  his  groom, 
sold  his  horse  and  gig,  and  placed  his  affairs  in  the  hands  of  Mr. 
Harmer,  the  solicitor,  to  whom  circumstances  had  so  oddly  in- 
troduced him  a  few  years  before.  Seven  or  eight  months  served 
to  bring  affairs  into  the  right  train  again ;  by  the  end  of  tha.t 
time  every  one  of  his  creditors  had  been  paid  to  the  last  penny 
of  their  demands. 

In  1812,  there  was  nothing  particularly  worthy  of  notice  at 
Sadler's  Wells.  His  second  benefit,  which  took  place  in  October, 
was  a  great  one,  the  receipts  being  two  hundred  and  twenty-five 
pounds.  It  was  supposed  the  theatre  would  not  hold  more  than 
two  hundred  pounds,  but  no  benefit  of  his  ever  brought  him  less 
than  two  hundred  and  ten;  and  indeed  one,  which  we  shall 
presently  have  occasion  to  mention,  produced  nearly  two  hun- 
dred and  seventy  pounds — whether  those  who  contributed  this 
sum  were  all  in  the  theatre  at  one  period  or  not,  we  cannot  of 
course  pretend  to  say. 

In  the  latter  end  of  this  month,  he  entered  into  an  engage- 
ment to  perform  for  two  nights  with  Mr.  Watson  of  the  Chelten- 
ham theatre,  who  arranged  to  give  him  a  clear  half  of  whatever 
the  receipts  might  be.  Previously  to  leaving  town,  he  consulted 
with  Mr.  Hughes  about  this  speculation,  who  told  him  that 
Cheltenham  was  a  bad  theatrical  town,  on  account  of  its  having 

*  Covent  Garden  commenced  the  season  of  1811-12,  in  September,  not  October. 
Joe,  on  September  llth,  played  Kanko,  in  "  La  Perouse ;"  on  the  16th,  Clown  in 
"  Harlequin  and  Asmodeus  ;"  on  the  26th,  Orson ;  and  on  the  30th  of  the  same 
month,  in  "Kaymond  and  Agnes."  Norman  played  Joe's  part  of  Baptiste  the 
robber;  Grimaldi  and  Cardoza  for  the  first  time  represented  his  sons  Jaques 
and  Eobert,  by  which  a  change  productive  of  greater  scenic  power  was  effected. 

t  Grimaldi  played  Acres  at  Covent  Garden  theatre,  June  25,  1811.  On  the 
night  of  his  benefit,  June  24,  1812,  "  Cato"  was  performed,  followed  by  the 
pantomime  of  "  Harlequin  Padmanaba,"  for  the  forty-ninth  or  fiftieth  repre- 
sentation that  season. 


many  other  amusements ;  but  still  he  fancied  he  might  clear  his 
expenses,  and  perhaps  forty  or  fifty  pounds  besides.  ^  At  the  ap- 
pointed time  he  left  London,  having  received  a  species  of  half- 
notice  from  Mr.  Harris,  that^he  would  not  be  wanted  at  Covent 
Garden :  and  on  the  next  night,  played  Scaramouch  and  sang 
Tippitywitchit  with  great  eclat  at  Cheltenham.  The  following 
evening  he  played  Clown  in  a  little  pantomime  of  his  own  con- 

The  house  was  full  on  each  occasion,  the  performances  gave 
perfect  satisfaction,  and  he  was  induced  by  the  manager  to  stay 
in  that  part  of  the  country  two  days  longer,  and  to  go  to 
Gloucester,  nine  miles  off",  at  which  place  he  likewise  had  a 
theatre.  Thither  _  they  started  early  on  the  following  morning, 
played  the  same  pieces  as  at  Cheltenham,  and  met  with  an  equal 
degree  ot  success. 

After  the  performances  were  over,  Mr.  Watson  and  he  supped 
together ;  and  when  the  cloth  was  removed,  the  former  said, 

"  Now,  Joe,  I  can  only  allow  you  to  take  one  glass  of  punch, 
time  is  so  very  precious." 

"  I  do  not  understand  you,"  replied  Grimaldi. 
"  Why,  what  I  mean  is,  that  it  is  now  twelve  o'clock,  and 
time  to  go  to  bed,"  he  answered. 

"  Oh !  with  all  my  heart,"  said  Grimaldi.  "  But  this  is  some- 
thing new,  I  suspect,  with  you.  Last  night,  I  remember,  it  was 
three  hours  later  than  this,  before  you  suffered  me  to  retire; 
and  the  night  previous  it  was  later  even  than  that." 

"Ay,  ay,"  replied  Watson;  "but  to-night  we  had  perhaps 
better  get  to  bed  soon,  as  to-morrow  I  want  you  to  go  out  rather 
early  with  me." 

"What  do  you  call  rather  early?"  inquired  Grimaldi. 
"  Why,  let  me  see,  we  must  start  before  three,"  answered  the 

"Indeed!"  said  Grimaldi;  "then  I  shall  wish  you  good- 
night at  once ;"  and  so  saying,  without  any  loss  of  time,  he 
went  to  his  chamber.  After  they  had  stepped  into  a  chaise 
next  day,  he  found  that  their  destination  was  Berkeley  Castle, 
to  which  its  host  had  sent  them  a  special  invitation,  and  that 
their  morning's  amusement  was  to  consist  of  coursing. 

He  had  the  honour  of  an  acquaintance  with  Colonel  Berkeley, 
(now  Lord  Segrave,)  at  whose  table  he  was  occasionally  in  the 
habit  of  dining,  and  upon  their  arrival  at  the  castle  was  most 
hospitably  received.  The  castle  was  full  of  company.  Several 
noblemen  were  there,  as  well  as  distinguished  commoners: 
among  the  former  was  Lord  Byron,  whom  he  had  frequently 
seen,  and  who  always  patronized  his  benefits  at  Covent  Garden, 
but  with  whom  he  had  never  conversed.  Colonel  Berkeley  intro- 
duced him  to  such  of  the  company  as  he  was  unacquainted  with, 
and,  in  common  with  the  rest,  to  Lord  Byron,  who  instantly 
advanced  towards  him,  and,  making  several  low  bows,  expressed 

v  2 


in  very  hyperbolical  terms  his  "  great  and  unbounded  satisfao* 
tion  in  becoming  acquainted  with  a  man  of  such  rare  and  pro- 
found talents,"  &c.  &c. 

Perceiving  that  his  lordship  was  disposed  to  be  facetious  at 
his  expense,  Grimaldi  felt  half  inclined  to  reply  in  a  similar 
strain ;  but,  reflecting  that  he  might  give  offence  by  doing  so. 
abstained — resolving,  however,  not  to  go  entirely  unrevenged 
for  the  joke  which  he  was  evidently  playing  him  :  he  returned 
all  the  bows  and  congees  threefold,  and  as  soon  as  the  ceremo- 
nious introduction  was  over,  made  a  face  at  Colonel  Berkeley, 
expressive  of  mingled  gratification  and  suspicion,  which  threw 
those  around  into  a  roar  of  laughter ;  while  Byron,  who  did  not 
see^it,  looked  round  for  the  cause  of  the  merriment  in  a  manner 
which  redoubled  it  at  once. 

"  Grimaldi,"  said  the  Colonel,  "  after  breakfast,  at  which 
meal  we  expect  your  company  and  that  of  Mr.  Watson,  you 
shall  have  a  course  with  the  greyhounds  yonder;  then  you 
must  return  and  dine  with  us.  ^  We  will  have  dinner  early,  so 
that  you  can  reach  the  theatre  in  time  to  perform." 

To  this,  he  had  no  further  reply  to  make,  than  to  express  his 
gratitude  for  such  consideration  and  kindness.  After  they  had 
taken  a  plentiful  meal,  they  went  out  with  the  dogs,  and  had 
some  famous  sport.  Hares  were  so  plentiful  that  they  started 
twenty- seven  in  one  field ;  and  the  day  being  fine,  and  the 
novelty  great,  Grimaldi  was  highly  delighted  with  the  pro- 

Upon  their  return  to  the  castle,  they  found  most  of  the  party 
with  whom  they  had  breakfasted  assembled  together,  and 
shortly  afterwards  they  sat  down  to  dinner.  Lord  Byron  sat 
on  Grimaldi' s  left,  and  a  young  nobleman  whom  he  knew  very 
well,  from  his  being  constantly  behind  the  scenes  at  Covent 
Garden,  but  whose  name  he  could  not  recollect,  on  his  right. 

"  Grimaldi,"  whispered  this  young  nobleman,  just  as  dinner 
commenced,  "  did  you  ever  meet  Byron  before  ?" 

"Never,  my  lord,"  answered  Grimaldi:  "that  is,  never  to 
converse  with  him." 

"  Tnen,  of  course,  you  have  not  met  him  at  a  dinner-party  ?" 

"  Never,  my  lord." 

"  Well,  then,"  continued  the  young  gentleman,  who,  as  any- 
body but  Grimaldi  would  have  seen,  was  playing  on  his  simpli- 
city in  conjunction  with  Lord  Byron,  "  I  will  tell  you  why  I 
asked  these  questions :  I  was  anxious,  if  you  should  chance  not 
to  know  his  lordship's  peculiarities,  to  point  out  to  you  one 
trifling  but  still  distinguishing  one,  to  which  if  you  happen  to 
oppose  yourself,  he  will  infallibly  take  a  dislike  to  you ;  and  I 
need  not  assure  you  that  it  is  always  best  for  a  public  character 
to  be  on  good  terms  rather  than  bad  with  such  men." 

Grimaldi  bowed  his  thanks,  and  really  did  feel  very  grateful. 

"  What  I  allude  to  is  simply  this,"  added  his  noble  friend  : 


"  Byron  is  very  courteous  at  the  dinner-table,  but  does  not  like 
to  have  his  courtesy  thrown  away,  or  slighted ;  I  would  recom- 
mend you,  if  he  asks  you  to  take  anything-,  as  he  is  almost 
sure  to  do,  no  matter  whether  it  be  to  eat  or  drink,  not  to 

"  I  am  very  much  obliged  to  you,  my  lord,"  was  Grimaldi's 
reply :  "  in  fact,  I  look  upon  your  kindness  as  a  great  per- 
sonal favour,  and  I  shall  carefully  act  upon  your  recommen- 

And  so  he  did,  and  so  indeed  he  had  plenty  of  opportunities 
of  doing;  for  Lord  Byron  asked  him  to  partake  01  so  many 
things,  none  of  which  he  liked  to  decline,  that  at  last  he  was 
quite  gorged,  and  was  almost  fearful  that  if  it  lasted  much 
longer,  he  should  be  unable  to  perform  that  night  at  Gloucester. 

Towards  the  end  of  the  repast  his  lordship  invited  him  to 
eat  a  little  apple-tart,  which  he  thought  he  could  manage, 
the  more  especially  as  he  was  very  fond  of  it ;  he  therefore 
acquiesced,  with  many  thanks ;  and  the  tart  being  placed 
beiore  him,  commenced  operations.  Byron  looked  at  him  for 
a  moment,  and  then  said,  with  much  seeming  surprise — 

**  Why,  Mr.  Grimaldi,  do  you  not  take  soy  with  your  tart  ?" 

"Soy,  my  lord?" 

"  Yes,  soy:  it  is  very  good  with  salmon,  and  therefore  it  must 
be  nice  with  apple-pie." 

Poor  Grimaldi  did  not  see  the  analogy,  and  was  upon  the 
point  of  saying  so ;  but  his  friend  on  his  right  touched  his 
elbow,  when  recollecting  what  he  had  previously  communi- 
cated, he  bowed  assent  to  Byron's  proposal,  and  proceeded  to 
pour  some  of  the  fish-sauce  over  the  tart.  After  one  or  two 
vain  attempts  to  swallow  a  mouthful  of  the  vile  mess,  he 
addressed  Lord  Byron  with  considerable  formality,  begging  him 
to  observe,  "that  no  one  could  do  more  justice  than  himself  to 
his  kindness,  but  that  he  really  trusted  he  would  forgive  his 
declining  to  eat  the  mixture  he  had  recommended  ;  as,  however 
much  the  confession  might  savour  of  bad  taste,  he  really  did 
not  relish  soy  with  apple-tart." 

He  was  much  relieved  by  Byron's  taking  the  apology  in  very 

good  part,  and  by  the  rest  of  the  company  laughing  most 
eartily — at  what,  he  says,  he  cannot  possibly  tell,  unless  it 
had  been  determined  to  put  a  joke  upon  him.  We  should 
imagine  that  it  had  been  ;  but,  in  any  case,  should  be  strongly 
disposed  to  say,  that  a  great  deal  more  of  innate  politeness 
was  displayed  on  the  side  of  simplicity  than  on  that  of 

Shortly  afterwards  they  took  their  leave  and  returned  to 
Gloucester,  where  they  found  the  theatre  crowded  as  before. 
The  performances  went  off  as  well  as  possible  ;  and  after  all  was 
over,  Watson  presented  him  with  one  hundred  and  ninety-five 
pounds  as  his  share. 


At  seven  o'clock  next  morning  he  was  on  his  road  to  London, 
where  he  arrived  that  night. 

Early  on  the  following  morning,  he  waited  upon  his  friend, 
Mr.  Hughes ;  and  having  reminded  him  that  "  Cheltenham  was 
a  very  bad  theatrical  town,  on  account  of  its  spas  and  other 
amusements,  but  that  still  it  was  possible  forty  or  fifty  pounds 
might  be  made  there,"  triumphantly  exhibited  his  one  hundred 
and  ninety-four  pounds. 

In  the  evening  he  called  at  Covent  Garden,  and  saw  Mr.  H. 
Harris,  who  informed  him  that  Mr.  Dimond,  of  the  Bath  and 
Bristol  theatres,  wished  to  engage  him  for  five  weeks — that  his 
terms  were  twenty-five  pounds  per  week,  with  half  a  clear 
benefit  at  each  of  the  places  named  ;  and  that  if  he  liked  to  go, 
he  was  at  perfect  liberty  to  do  so,  the  proprietors  of  Covent 
Garden  not  needing  his  services  until  Christmas.  His  salary 
was  to  be  paid,  however,  just  as  though  he  were  per- 

Of  this  liberality  he  gladly  availed  himself;  and  after  ex- 
pressing his  gratitude,  wrote  to  Dimond,  accepting  tbe  proposal. 
A  week  after  he  had  returned  from  Gloucester,  he  left  town 
for  Bath. 



1812  to  1816. 

A  Clergyman's  Dinner-party  at  Bath. — First  Appearance  of  Grimaldi's  Son,  and 
Death  of  his  old  Friend,  Mr.  Hughes — Grimaldi  plays  at  three  Theatres 
on  one  night,  and  has  his  Salary  stopped  for  his  pains — His  severe  illness — 
Second  journey  to  Bath — Davidge,  "  Billy  Coombes,"  and  the  Chest — Face- 
tiousness  of  the  aforesaid  Billy. 

Two  days  after  his  arrival  in  Path  he  appeared  at  the  theatre, 
where  he  was  fortunate  enough  x,o  elicit  the  warmest  applause 
and  approbation  from  a  crowded  audience;  nor  was  he  less 
successful  at  Bristol,  the  theatre  being  completely  filled  every 
night  he  performed.  He  remained  in  this  part  of  the  country 
during  five  weeks,  playing  four_  nights  in  every  week  at  Bath, 
and  the  remaining  two  at  Bristol.  By  this  trip  he  realized 
2S7L—1251.  for  salary,  ^  and  162Z.  for  benefits;  but  although  it 
was  a  lucrative  expedition,  it  was  by  no  means  a  pleasant  one, 
the  weather  being  exceedingly  inclement,  and  he  being  com- 
pelled to  return  to  Bath  every  evening  after  the  performances 
at  Bristol  were  over.  The  nightly  rides  at  that  season  of  the 
year  were  by  no  means  agreeable ;  he  suffered  very  much  from 
colds,  and,  upon  the  whole,  was  very  far  from  sorry  when  his 
engagement  terminated. 

During  his  stay;  at  Bath  a  little  incident  happened,  deve- 
loping, in  a  striking  point  of  view,  a  very  repulsive  trait  of 
discourtesy  and  bad  breeding  in  a  quarter  where,  least  of  any, 
such  an  exhibition  might  have  been  looked  for. 

Higman,  the  bass-singer,  who  was  then  in  great  repute,  and 
was  afterwards  the  original  Gabriel,  in  Guy  Mannering,  but  is 
since  dead,  was  invited  with  Grimaldi  to  ctine  with  a  reverend 
gentleman  of  that  city.  They  accepted  the  invitation,  and  upon 
their  arrival  found  a  pretty  large  party  of  gentlemen  assembled, 
the  clerical  host  of  course  presiding.  The  very  instant  the  cloth 
was  removed,  this  gentleman  commanded,  rather  than  asked, 
Higman  to  sing  a  song.  Not  wishing  to  appear  desirous  of 
enhancing  the  merit  of  the  song  by  frivolous  objections,  he  at 
once  consented,  although  he  had  scarcely  swallowed  his  meal. 
It  was  deservedly  very  much  applauded  and  complimented,  and 
the  moment  ^the  applause  had  ceased,  the  reverend  doctor 
turned  to  Grimaldi,  and  in  the  same  peremptory  manner  re- 
quested a  song  from  him.  He  begged  leave  to  decline  for  the 
present,  urging  —  what  was  indeed  the  truth  —  that  he  had 


scarcely  swallowed  his  dinner.  The  observation  made  by  the 
host  in  reply  rather  astonished  him. 

"What,  *Mr.  Grimaldi !"  he  exclaimed,  hastily,  "  not  sing, 
gir !  Why,  I  asked  you  here,  sir,  to-day  expressly  to  sing." 

"  Indeed,  sir  !"  said  Grimaldi,  rising  from  the  table  :  "  then 
I  heartily  wish  you  had  said  so  when  you  gave  me  the  invi- 
tation ;  in  which  case  you  would  have  saved  me  the  inconve- 
nience of  coming  here  to-day,  and  prevented  my  wishing  you, 
as  I  now  beg  to  do,  a  very  unceremonious  good-night." 

With  these  words  he  left  the  apartment,  and  very  soon  after- 
wards the  house. 

It  may  appear  to  a  great  many  persons  a  remarkable  circum- 
stance that  a  pantomime  Clown  should  have  been  called  upon 
to  read  a  lesson  of  politeness  and  common  decency  to  a  reverend 
divine.  The  circumstance,  however,  happened  literally  as  it  is 
here  narrated.  A  somewhat  similar  story  has  been  told  of 
another  well-known  actor ;  but  this  rudeness,  whether  it  arose 
in  ignorance  or  intention,  was  offered  to  Grimaldi  by  the  reve- 
rend gentleman  in  question,  whose  name  he  well  remembered, 
but  which  we  abstain  from  mentioning. 

The  Christmas  pantomime  at  Covent  Garden  was  entitled 
"Harlequin  and  the  Red  Dwarf,  or  the  Adamant  Hock:"  it 
was  entirely  successful.*  On  Easter  Monday,  1813,  the  melo- 
drama of  "Aladdin,  or  the  Wonderful  Lamp,"  written  by  Mr. 
Farley,  was  acted  for  the  first  time,  Grimaldi  playing  the 
character  of  Kasrac,  a  dumb  slave,  which  became  one  of  his 
most  popular  characters. f  The  Sadler's  Wrells  season  merits 

*  The  pantomime  of  "  Harlequin  and  the  Bed  Dwarf,"  notwithstanding  the 
scenery  was  superb,  and  the  changes  and  machinery  entitled  to  great  praise, 
was  in  no  way  so  successful  as  several  of  the  former  similar  productions  brought 
out  at  Covent  Garden ;  and  yet  the  burlesques  introduced  by  Joe  were  suffi- 
ciently droll  to  prompt  several  highly  coloured  prints  of  certain  characters  in 
the  print-shops  of  that  day.  The  scenes  in  which  the  Epping  Hunt  was  repre- 
sented, supplied  one  of  the  finest  landscapes  ever  displayed  in  any  theatre. 
Horses  were  introduced — a  jolly  fat  Parson,  Pantaloon,  and  the  Clown,  took 
part  in  the  joys  of  the  chase  ;  Pantaloon  on  a  little  Shetland  pony  was  followed 
by  Grimaldi  on  a  great  cart-horse,  aping  the  mammoth  wonder  for  size ;  Joe 
with  a  long  wagoner's  whip  in  his  hand,  and  a  jockey-cap,  the  peak  of  prodigious 
extent,  seemed  as  anxious  to  be  in  at  the  death  as  if  nothing  in  the  world  was 
comparable  to  it ;  his  eagerness  created  a  doubt  whether  Barnes  and  his  minia- 
ture horse  would  or  would  not  be  galloped  over  by  Joe  and  his  Bucephalus — 
or  be  trundled  over,  horse  and  man,  for  the  popular  diversion. 

On  February  8th,  1813,  the  comic  burletta  of  "  Poor  Vulcan"  was  revived  at 
Covent  Garden— the  bills  stated,  "  not  acted  for  many  years."  In  this  piece 
there  was  a  pastoral  ballet  at  Mount  Ida,  in  which  the  characters  were  thus 
sustained:  Silenus,  Mr.  Bologna;  Bacchanals,  Mr.  Bologna,  jun.,  and  M. 
Montignani ;  Pan,  Mr.  Grimaldi ;  and  Bacchante,  Mrs.  Parker.  Joe's  attach- 
ment to  his  old  part  of  Pan  in  "  Terpsichore's  Beturn,"  was  here  again  renewed ; 
it  was  performed  a  sixth  time  on  the  16th  of  the  same  month. 

tThe  gorgeous  spectacle  of  "Aladdin"  was,  after  Douglas  by  Master  Betty, 
performed  for  the  first  time  on  April  19th.  "  Aladdin"  was  represented  by  Mrs. 
C.  Kemble  ;  Abafiazar,  the  Magician,  by  Mr.  Farley;  and  Kasrac,  his  Chinese 
Slave,  by  Mr.  Grimaldi :  it  was  highly  attractive,  and  was  performed  for  the 
thirty-fourth  time  on  June  21.  Grimaldi's  benefit  this  year  was  on  July  1st, 


no  further  notice  than  that,  as  usual,  it  was  very  profitable,  and 
that  Grrimaldi  produced  a  dance,  called  "  Pun  and  Physic," 
which  was  performed  every  night. 

Coyent  Garden  re-opened  in  September ;  and  this  year  he 
was  in  constant  requisition  before  Christmas,  as  well  as  after, 
Aladdin  being  found  an  extremely  profitable  piece.  "  Harle- 
quin and  the  Swans,  or  the  Bath  of  Beauty,"  was  produced  at 
Christmas,*  and  followed  at  Easter  by  "  Sadak  and  J£alasrade," 
in  which  Grrimaldi  played  Hassan. 

when  were  performed  "  Five  miles  off;"  "  Love,  Law,  and  Physic,"  and  for  the 
forty-second  time,  "  Harlequin  and  the  Eed  Dwarf."  At  the  close  of  this 
season,  by  permission  of  the  proprietors  of  Drury  Lane  Theatre,  Sheridan' 
"  Kobinson  Crusoe  and  his  Man  Friday"  was  produced  at  Covent  Garden  ;  the 
Shipwrecked  Mariner,  by  Mr.  Grimaldi;  his  Man  Friday,  by  Mr.  Bologna,  jun. 
It  was  repeated  a  few  times,  and  the  season  terminated  on  July  15th. 

Joe's  popularity  at  this  period  is  thus  happily  celebrated  by  the  late  Jamea 
Smith,  in  the  following — 


Facetious  mime  !  thou  enemy  of  gloom ; 

Grandson  of  Momus,  blithe  and  debonair, 
"Who  aping  Pan,  with  an  inverted  broom 

Canst  brush  the  cobwebs  from  the  brows  of  care. 

Our  gallery  gods  immortalize  thy  songs, 
Thy  Newgate  thefts  impart  ecstatic  pleasure ; 

Thou  bidd'st  a  Jew's  harp  charm  a  Christian  throng, 
A  Gothic  salt-box  teem  with  Attic  treasure. 

When  Harlequin,  his  charmer  to  regain, 
Courts  her  embrace  in  many  a  queer  disguise, 

The  light  of  heels  looks  for  his  sword  in  vain — 
Thy  furtive  fingers  snatch  the  magic  prize. 

The  fabled  egg  from  thee  obtains  its  gold  : 
Thou  sett'st  the  mind  from  critic  bondage  loose, 

Where  male  and  female  cacklers,  young  and  old, 
Birds  of  a  feather,  hail  the  sacred  goose. 

ren  pious  souls,  from  Bunyan's  durance  free, 
At  Sadler's  Wells  applaud  thy  agile  wit, 
Forget  old  care,  while  they  remember  thee — 
Laugh  the  heart's  laugh,  and  haunt  the  jovial  pit. 

Long  mayst  thou  guard  the  prize  thy  humour  won ; 

Long  hold  thy  court  in  Pantomimic  State ; 
And  to  the  equipoise  of  English  fun, 

Exalt  the  lowly  and  bring  down  the  great. 

•  •'  Harlequin  and  the  Swans,"  produced  at  Covent  Garden  on  December  27, 
1813,  presented  two  Harlequins,  Bologna,  jun.,  and  Ellar,  who  then  made  hia 
first  appearance  at  that  theatre.  Grimaldi  played  in  the  prelude,  "Doctor 
Tumble  Tuzzy,"  Chief  Physician  to  the  Court,  when,  if  laughter  be  physic  to 
the  megrims,  he  and  his  assistant  medical  gentleman  flung  it  about  in  no 
small  potions. 

The  Grand  Asiatic  Spectacle  of  "  Sadak  and  Kalasrade"  was  produced  at 


Having-  now  none  of  those  amusements  which  in  former  years 
had  served  to  employ  his  idle  hours — having  lost  his  flies,  given 
up  his  pigeons,  removed  from  Einchley,  sold  his  house,  and 
resigned  his  garden,  he  devoted  the  whole  of  his  leisure  time  to 
the  society  and  improvement  of  his  son.  As  he  could  not  bear 
to  part  with  him,  and  was  wholly  unable  to  make  up  his  mind  to 
send  him  to  any  great  boarding- school,  he  was  partly  educated 
at  the  same  school  at  which  his  father  had  been  a  pupil,  and 
partly  by  masters  who  attended  nim  ^at  home.  The  father 
appears  to  have  bestowed  great  and  praiseworthy  care  upon  his 
education.  Although  at  this  time  he  was  only  twelve  years  old, 
he  had  not  only  quite  mastered  the  common  rudiments  of  learn- 
ing, but  had  become  well  acquainted  with  Trench  literature,  and 
wrote  the  language  with  ease  and  propriety.  He  had  at  a  very 
early  age  manifested  a  great  fondness  for  music,  especially  the 
violin,  and  had  acquired  great  proficiency  on  that  instrument, 
under  the  tuition  of  one  of  the  first  masters  in  the  country. 

As  he  was  a  very  clever  boy,  was  an  excellent  dancer,  and 
displayed  a  great  fondness  and  aptitude  for  the  stage,  his  father 
finding  that  his  inclinations  lay  irrevocably  that  way,  deter- 
mined  to  encourage  them,  and  accordingly  proceeded  to  instruct 
him  in  melodrama  and  pantomime.  He  fancied  that  in  his  old 
age,  when  his  own  heyday  of  fame  and  profit  was  over,  he  should 
gather  new  life  from  the  boy^'s  success,  and  that  old  times  would 
be  called  up  vividly  before  him  when  he  witnessed  his  popularity 
in  characters  which  had  first  brought  his  father  before  the  public, 
and  enabled  him  gradually,  after  the  loss  of  _his  property,^  to 
acquire  an  independent  and  respectable  station  in  society.  The 
wish  was  a  natural  one,  and  the  old  man  cherished  it  dearly  for 
many  years.  It  was  decreed  otherwise ;  and  although  in  his 
better  days  the  blight  of  this  hope  caused  him  great  grief  and 
misery,  he  endeavoured  to  bear  it  with  humility  and  resigna- 

On  the  26th  of  April*  he  resumed  his  labours  at  Sadler's  Wells. 
He  acted  in  at drama  called  the  "Slave  Pirate,"  which  was 
successful.  His  first  benefit  brought  him  21 6/.,  and  his  second 
263?.  10^.;  the  last-named  being  the  best  he  ever  had  at  that 

the  same  Theatre  on  Easter  Monday,  April  11,  1814;  Sadat,  by  Mr.  Abbott; 
Hassan,  his  Slave,  by  Mr.  Grimaldi;  Agra,  Principal  Dancer,  by  Mr.  Ellar ; 
Kalasrade,  by  Mrs.  H,  Johnston.  On  the  same  night,  Sadler's  Wells  commenced 
the  season  of  1814,  with  Joe's  Cojnic  Dance_of  "Fun  and^  Physic,"  and  the 
Pantomime  of  "  K:~ 
appearance  there 
with  a  new  song,  c 

Wiggins."  As  these  pieces  were  frequently  performed  on  the  same  evening  at 
the  two  theatres,  it  was  a  regular  run  for  both  from  the  Wells  to  Covent  Garden. 
*  Sadler's  Wells  opened  April  llth,  not  the  26th.  The  Aqua-Drama  of 
"Kaloc;  or,  The  Pirate  Slave,"  Kaloc,  by  Mr.  Grimaldi,  performed  in  the 
previous  season,  for  the  first  time,  August  9th,  1813,  w»a  not  played  during  that 
of  18 14. 


The  great  attraction  of  this  benefit  of  1814  *  was  the  first 
appearance  on  any  stage,  of  his  son,  who  performed  "Friday"  in 
"  Kobinson  Crusoe,"  Grimaldi  playing  the  latter  part  himself, 
and  thus  introducing  his  son  to  the  public  in  the  same  piece  in 
which  his  father  had  brought  him  forward  thirty-three  years 
before.  For  six  weeks  previous  to  the  debut,  the  pains  he  had 
taken  to  render  him  master  of  the  character,  and  the  drillings  he 
gave  him  were  innumerable,  although  they  rather  arose  from  the 
nervousness  of  the  father  than  from  any  lack  of  intelligence  on  the 
part  of  the  son,  who  not  only  rapidly  acquired  the  instructions 
communicated  to  him,  but  in  many  instances  improved  upon 
them  considerably.  His  intended  appearance  was  kept  a  pro- 
found secret  until  within  a  week  of  the  night  on  which  he  was 
to  perform ;  and  when  the  announcement  was  at  length  made, 
the  demand  for  tickets  and  places  was  immense.  The  result  was, 
that  the  benefit  not  only  turned  out,  as  has  already  been  men- 
tioned, the  best  Grimaldi  ever  had,  but  the  reception  of  the  son 
was  enthusiastic,  and  his  exertions  were  both  applauded  by  the 
public  and  commended  in  the  newspapers.  It  may  appear  a 
mere  matter  of  course  to  say  that  the  father  considered  the 
performance  the  best  that  he  had  ever  seen ;  but  long  after- 
wards, when  the  boy  was  dead,  and  censure  or  praise  was  alike 
powerless  to  assist  or  harm  him,  Grimaldi  expressed,  in  the 
same  strong  terms,  his  high  opinion  of  his  abilities,  and  his  con- 
viction that  had  he  been  only  moderate  and  temperate  in^  the 
commonest  degree,  he  must  in  a  few  years  have  equalled,  if  not 
greatly  excelled,  anything  which  he  himself  had  achieved  in 
his  very  best  days. 

On  the  20th  of  December  following,  he  sustained  a  severe  loss 
in  the  death  of  his  constant  and  sincere  friend,  Mr.  Eichard 
Hughes,  who  had  been  his  well-wisher  and  adviser  from  infancy, 
and  whose  relationship  to  his  first  wife  gave  him  a  strong  and 
lasting  claim  on  his  regard.  As  another  instance  of  the  severe 
and  mental  trials  which  an  actor  has  to  undergo,  it  may  be 
mentioned  that  during  the  time  his  friend  was  lying  dead,  he 
was  engaged  for  many  hours  each  day  in  rehearsing  broadly 
humorous  pantomime,  and  that,  as  if  to  render  the  contrast 
more  striking,  the  burial  being  fixed  for  the  26th  of  the  month, 
he  was  compelled  to  rehearse  part  of  hia  Clown's  character  on 
the  stage,  to  run  to  the  funeral,  to  get  back  from  the  church- 
yard to  the  theatre  to  finish  the  rehearsal,  and  to  exert  all  Ms 
comid  powers  at  night  to  set  the  audience  in  a  roar. 

This  pantomime  was  founded  upon  the  story  of  Whittington 

*  Bologna,  jun.,  and  Grimaldi,  had  jointly  their  benefit  at  Covent  Garden  on 
June  29tii,  1814 :  when  were  performed  O'Keeffe's  "  Our  Way  in  France  ;"  Lord 
Winlove,  by  Mr.  Incledon;  the  Melo-Dramatic  Piece,  "For  England  Ho!"  and 
for  the  fourth  time  these  five  years,  "  Harlequin  and  Mother  Goose  ;"  with  the 
favourite  scene  of  the  Dog-Cart ;  and  the  "  Oyster  Duet,"  with  the  "  Dissection 
«»f  Harlequin." 


and  his  Cat,  and  had  a  very  extended  run.  On  the  night  of  its 
production,  his  spirits  were  so  affected  by  the  calamity  he  had 
sustained,  that  it  was  with  great  difficulty  he  could  go  through 
his  part,  in  which  he  had  very  nearly  failed.  He  succeeded  by 
a  strong  effort  in  finishing  the  piece  ;  and  although  his  health 
paid  very  dearly  for  this  and  other  efforts  of  the  same  nature, 
the  constant  bustle  and  excitement  of  his  professional  duties 
aided  in  recovering  him,  and  enabling  him  to  act  with  his 
accustomed  vivacity. 

The  harlequinade  of  "The  Talking  Bird  "was  produced  at 
Sadler's  Wells  this  season,  in  which  he  first  enacted  the  Bird 
and  afterwards  the  Clown.  During  the  run  of  this  pantomime 
he  performed  the  remarkable  feat  of  playing  three  very  heavy 
parts  (two  of  them  Clowns)  at  three  different  theatres  on  the 
same  night.  He  was  intimately  acquainted  with  a  Mr.  Hay- 
ward,  who,  being  married  to  a  clever  actress  at  the  Surrey,  one 
Miss  Dely,  begged  him  as  a  great  favour  to  act  for  her  at  that 
theatre  on  her  benefit  night.  He  asked  and  obtained  permission 
from  the  proprietors  of  Sadler's  Wells,  but  could  not  do  the 
same  at  Covent  Garden,  as  Mr.  Harris  was  absent  from  town. 
He  did  not  think  it  a  point  of  any  great  importance,  however, 
inasmuch  as  he  had  not  been  called  upon  to  act  for  some  time, 
and  nothing  was  then  announced  in  which  it  was  at  all  likely 
he  would  be  wanted.  Unfortunately,  on  the  very  night  of  the 
benefit,  '*  La  Perouse,"  in  which  he  acted,  was  advertised  at 
Covent  Garden.  In  this  dilemma,  he  hurried  over  the  water, 
explained  the  circumstance,  and  pointed  out  the  impossibility 
of  his  performing  at  the  Surrey. 

But  the  Surrey  people  who  had  advertised  him  stoutly  con- 
tending that  there  was  no  impossibility  in  the  case,  assured  him 
that  all  would  be  right ;  that  he  should  play  there  first,  then  go 
to  Sadler's  Wells,  and  then  to  Covent  Garden  to  finish  the 
evening.  To  the  end  that  he  should  be  in  good  time  at  each 
house,  it  was  proposed  that  a  chaise,  with  the  best  horses 
that  could  be  procured,  should  be  provided,  and  held  in 
readiness  to  carry  him  at  the  greatest  possible  speed  from  place 
to  place. 

Not  having  the  heart  to  disappoint  the  parties  interested,  he 
consented  to  this  arrangement.  At  the  Surrey,  he  played  with 
Bologna  in  the  pantomime  ;  the  moment  it  was  over,  he  jumped 
into  a  chaise  and  four  that  was  waiting  at  the  door,  and  started 
for  Sadler's  Wells.  Bologna  accompanied  him  to  see  the  issue 
of  the  proceeding,  and,  by  dashing  through  the  streets  at  a 
most  extraordinary  pace,  they  reached  Sadler's  Wells  just  at 
the  commencement  of  the  overture  for  the  pantomime.  Hur- 
rying to  re-paint  his  face,  which  had  been  very  much  bedaubed 
by  the  rain,  which  poured  upon  it,  as  he  looked  out  of  the  chaise- 
window  entreating  the  post-boys  to  drive  a  little  slower,  and 
thrusting  himself  into  the  dress  of  the  "  Talking  Bird."  he  waa 


ready  at  the  instant  when  the  call-boy  told  him  he  was  wanted. 
There  still  remained  Co  vent  Garden,  and  towards  the  close  of 
the  pantomime  he  grew  very  anxious,  looking  constantly  towards 
the  sides  of  the  stage  to  see  if  Bologna  was  still  there  ;  for  as 
he  was  the  Perouse  of  the  night,  and  was  wanted  a  full  half- 
hour  before  him,  he  felt  something  like  security  so  long  as  he 
remained.  At  length  the  pantomime  was  over,  and  once  more 
taking  their  seats  in  the  same  chaise,  they  drove  at  the  same 
furious  pace  to  Covent  Garden,  and  were  ready  dressed  and  in 
the  green-room  before  the  first  bars  of  the  overture  had  been 
played.  This  change  of  dress  assisted  greatly  in  recovering 
him  from  his  fatigue,  and  he  went  through  the  third  part  as 
well  as  the  first,  leeling  no  greater  exhaustion  at  the  close  of 
the  performances  than  was  usual  with  him  on  an  ordinary  night. 
The  only  refreshment  which  he  took  during  the  whole  evening 
was  one  glass  of  warm  ale  and  a  biscuit.  He  plumed  himself 
very  much  on  this  feat ;  for  although  he  had  played  clown  at 
two  theatres  for  twenty-eight  nights  successively,  he  considered 
it  something  out  of  the  common  way,  and  triumphed  in  it 

He  had  a  specimen  next  day  of  the  spirit  which  Eawcett  still 
cherished  towards  him,  and  which,  but  for  the  kindness  of  Mr. 
Harris,  might  have  injured  him  severely  on  many  occasions. 
Applying  as  usual  at  the  treasury  for  his  weekly  salary  of  ten 
pounds,  he  was  informed  by  the  treasurer,  with  great  politeness 
and  apparent  regret,  that  he  had  received  orders  from  Mr. 
Fawcett  to  stop  it  for  that  week.  He  instantly  posted  off  in 
search  of  that  gentleman,  and  upon  finding  him,  requested  to 
know  why  his  salary  was  not  to  be  paid. 

"  Because,  sir,"  replied  Mr.  Fawcett, — "  because  you  have 
thought  fit  to  play  at  the  Surrey  Theatre  without  mentioning 
the  matter  to  us,  or  asking  our  permission." 

Grimaldi  whistled  a  little  to  express  his  total  unconcern,  and, 
turning  away,  muttered,  "Eor  us  and  for  our  tragedy,  thus 
stooping  to  your  clemency,  we  beg  your  hearing  patiently."  In 
crossing  the  stage  to  the  door,  he  met  Mr.  Harris,  who  had  that 
instant  entered  the  theatre,  having  arrived  in  town  not  ten 
minutes  before.  He  shook  him  kindly  by  the  hand,  and  in- 
fuired  how  he  was. 

"  Why,  sir,"  said  Grimaldi,  "  I  am  as  well  as  can  be  expected, 
considering  that  my  salary  has  been  stopped." 

"  Why,  what  have  you  been  about,  Joe  ?" 

"  Played  for  Mrs.  Hayward's  benefit  at  the  Surrey,  sir." 

"  Oh !  without  leave,  I  suppose?" 

"Why,  sir,"  answered  Grimaldi,  "there  was  no  one  in  the 
theatre  who  was,  in  my  opinion,  entitled  actually  to  give  or 
refuse  leave ;  you  were  out  of  town :  with  Mr.  Pawcett  I  have 
nothing  to  do-^-he  has  neither  connexion  with  nor  influence 
over  my  line  of  business,  nor  do  I  wish  him  to  have  any ;  Mr. 


JFarley  is  the  only  gentleman  under  yourself  whom  I  consider 
myself  obliged  to  acknowledge  as  a  superior  here — and  to  him  I 
did  name  it,  and  he  told  me  to  go,  for  I  should  not  be  wanted/' 

"Joe,"  said  Mr.  Harris,  ^  after  a  moment's  pause,  "go  to 
Brandon,  and  tell  him  to  give  you  your  money.  And,  mind, 
I've  entered  into  an  arrangement  for  you  to  go  and  see  pimond 
again  in  October,  upon  the  same  terms  as  before  :  so  mind  you 
go,  and  I'll  take  care  you  are  neither  fined  nor  wanted." 

For  this  double  liberality  he  expressed  his  best  thanks,  and 
returning  to  the  treasury,  with  the  manager's  message,  received 
his  salary,  and  departed. 

On  the  15th  of  the  next  month,  his  first  benefit  for  that 
season  took  place  at  Sadler's  Wells.  He  sustained  the  part  of 
Don  Juan;  and  his  son,  J.  S.  Grimaldi,  played  Scaramouch, 
being  his  second  appearance.  He  acted  the  part  capitally,  and 
had  a  great  reception,  so  that  his  father  now  in  good  earnest 
began  to  hope  he  would  not  only  support  the  name  of  Grimaldi, 
but  confer  upon  it  increased  popularity.  The  receipts  of  this 
night  were  23 1L  14s.  Three  months  afterwards  his  second 
benefit  occurred  :  Monday,  the  9th  of  October,  was  the  day  fixed 
for  it,  but  on  the  preceding  Saturday  he  was  suddenly  seized 
with  severe  illness,  originating  in  a  most  distressing  impediment 
in  his  breathing.  Medical  assistance  was  immediately  called 
in,  and  he  was  bled  until  nigh  fainting.  This  slightly  relieved 
him ;  but  shortly  afterwards  he  had  a  relapse,  and  four  weeks 
passed  before  he  recovered  sufficiently  to  leave  the  house.  There 
is  no  doubt  but  that  some  radical  change  had  occurred  in  his 
constitution,  for  previously  to  this  attack  he  had  never  been 
visited  with  a  single  day's  illness,  while  after  its  occurrence  he 
never  had  a  single  day  of  perfect  health. 

On  the  Monday,  finding  it  would  be  impossible  for  him  to 
play,  he  procured  a  substitute,  and  immediately  had  bills  printed 
and  posted  outside  the  theatre.  His  absence  made  a  difference 
of  about  fifty  pounds  in  the  receipts;  but  as  his  son  played 
Scaramouch,  and  played  it  well,  he  sustained  no  greater  pecu- 
niary loss,  and  had  the  satisfaction  of  hearing  from  all  quarters 
that  his  son  was  rapidly  improving. 

After  ^  the  lapse  of  a  month  Grimaldi  became  tolerably  well, 
and  as  it  was  now  time  for  him  to  keep  his  engagement  with 
Dimond,  he  went  to  Bath  in  November,  and  remained  there 
until  the  middle  of  December,  occasionally  acting  at  Bristol. 
The  profits  of  this  trip  were  two  hundred  and  ninety-four 

It  was  either  during  this  provincial  trip,  or  about  this  time, 
that  he  first  became  acquainted  with  Mr.  Davidge,  the  late 
lessee  of  the  ^Surrey  Theatre.  He  was  then  the  Harlequin  at 
Bath  and  Bristol,  and  although  he  afterwards  became  a  round 
and  magisterial  figure,  was  then  a  very  light  and  active  panto- 


In  1-he  pantomimes  Davidge  was  the  Harlequin,  and  Grimaldi 
of  course  the  Clown.  They  were  accustomed  to  call  the  Pan- 
taloon, who  was  a  very  indifferent  actor,  hy  the  name  of  "  Billy 
Coombes," — why,  they  best  knew,  but  it  seems  not  to  have  been 
his  real  name.  This  worthy  had  given  both  Davidge  and 
Grimaldi  mighty  offence  upon  several  occasions,  possibly  _  by 
making  his  appearance  on  the  stage  in  a  state  of  intoxication. 
Grimaldi  forgot  the  precise  cause  of  affront,  but,  whatever  it 
was,  they  deemed  it  a  very  great  one ;  and  Davidge,  upon 
several  occasions,  took  opportunities  of  hinting,  in  speeches 
fraught  with  determination  and  replete  with  a  peculiar  variety 
of  expletives,  that  he  was  resolved  some  time  or  other  to  be 
revenged  upon  that  Billy  Coombes. 

One  evening,  while  the  pantomime  was  in  progress,  and  the 
two  friends  were  exciting  much  mirth  and  applause,  Davidge 
pointed  to  a  chest  which  was  used  in  the  piece,  and  whispering 
that  there  was  a  lock  upon  it  with  a  key,  remarked  that  Billy 
had  to  get  into  it  directly,  and  asked  whether  it  would  not  be  a 
good  joke  to  turn  the  key  upon  him.  Grimaldi  readily  concurred, 
and  no  sooner  was  the  unconscious  Billy  Coombes  beneath  the 
lid  of  the  chest,  than  he  was  locked  in,  amidst  the  plaudits  of 
the  audience,  who  thought  it  a  capital  trick.  There  were  but 
two  more  scenes  in  the  pantomime,  which  Davidge  had  to  com- 
mence. Just  as  he  was  going  on  the  stage,  Grimaldi  inquired 
whether  he  had  let  out  the  Pantaloon. 

'"^o,"  he  replied  hastilv,  "I  have  not,  but  I  will  directly  I 
come  off."  So  saying,  he  aanced  upon  the  stage,  followed  by 
Grimaldi,  and  the  iisual  buffeting  ensued  with  the  accustomed 
effect.  The  pantomime  was  over  a  few  minutes  afterwards,  and 
Grimaldi,  who  felt  very  tired  when  he  had  gone  through  his 
part,  in  consequence  of  his  recent  illness,  went  straight  home, 
and  was  in  bed  a  very  short  time  after  the  curtain  fell. 

There  was  a  call  the  next  morning  for  the  rehearsal  of  a  few 
new  pantomime  scenes  which  Grimaldi  had  prepared  to  vary 
the  entertainments.  However,  as  the  Pantaloon  was  not  forth- 
coming, they  could  not  be  gone  through  with  any  useful  effect. 
When  Davidge  arrived,  Grimaldi  mentioned  the  circumstance. 

"  I  suppose,"  he  said,  "  our  victim  has  taken  our  conduct  in 
high  dudgeon,  and  doesn't  mean  to  come  this  morning.  We 
shall  be  in  a  pretty  mess  at  night  if  he  does  not !" 

"  What  do  you  mean  ?"  said  Davidge,  with  a  look  of  surprise. 
"  This  Billy  Coombes,  he  is  not  come  to  the  theatre  to-day, 
and  is  not  to  be  found  at  his  lodgings,  for  we  have  sent  a  man 

"  By  G — ,"  said  Davidge,  "I  never  let  him  out  of  the  box !" 
On  reflection,  they  had  certainly  finished  the  pantomime 
without  him,  although  it  did  not  strike  them  at  the  time,  be- 
cause, as  he  was  no  great  actor,  the  business  of  the  last  two 
scenes   had   been   arranged   entirely   between   Davidge    and 


Grimaldi.  They  lost  no  time  in  inquiring  after  the  chest,  and 
it  was  at  length  discovered  in  a  cellar  below  the  stage.  On 
raising  the  lid,  the  Pantaloon  was  discovered,  and  a  truly 
pitiable  object  he  looked,  although  they  were  both  not  a  little 
relieved  to  find  he  was  alive,  for,  not  knowing  that  the  chest 
was  perforated  in  various  places,  they  had  entertained  some 
serious  fears  that  when  he  did  turn  up,  he  might  be  found 
suffocated.  Every  necessary  assistance  was  afforded  him,  and 
he  never  suffered  in  the  slightest  degree  from  his  temporary 
confinement.  He  said  that  he  had  shouted  as  loud  as  he  could, 
and  had  knocked  and  kicked  against  the  sides  of  his  prison, 
but  that  nobody  had  taken  the  least  notice  of  him,  which  he 
attributed  to  the  incessant  noise  and  bustle  behind  the  scenes. 
With  the  view  of  keeping  the  stage  as  clear  as  possible,  every- 
thing used  in  a  pantomime  is  put  away  at  once ;  the  chest  was 
lowered  by  a  trap  into  the  cellar,  notwithstanding  the  shouts 
from  the  Pantaloon,  who,  knowing  that  he  would  be  released 
next  day,  went  to  sleep  very  quietly. 

This  was  the  version  of  the  story  given  by  the  ingenious  Mr. 
Coombes,  and  in  this  version  Grimaldi  was  an  implicit  believer. 
"We  are  rather  disposed  to  think  that  Mr.  Coombes  might  have 
thrown  an  additional  light  upon  the  matter  by  explaining  that 
he  had  got  into  the  chest  that  morning  to  turn  the  tables  upon 
his  assailants,  the  more  so,  as  he  received  various  little  presents 
in  the  way  of  compensation  for  his  imprisonment,  with  which 
he  expressed  himself  perfectly  satisfied. 

This  "  Billy  Coombes,"  or  whatever  the  man's  name  may 
have  been,  once  said  a  very  ludicrous  thing  upon  the  stage, 
which  convulsed  the  audience  with  laughter.  The  play  was 
Borneo  and  Juliet,  and  ho  was  cast  to  perform  Sampson.  The 
wardrobe  of  the  theatre  being  very  scanty,  he  was  habited  in  a 
most  absurd  and  ridiculous  dress,  every  article  of  which  had 
evidently  formed  a  portion  of  a  different  suit,  and  which  was, 
moreover,  full  three  sizes  too  large  for  him,  especially  the  coat, 
the  cuffs  of  which,  instead  of  ornamenting  his  wrists,  dangled 
over  his  fingers'  ends.  In  this  disguise,  "  Billy,"  who  waxed 
extremely  wroth  at  the  figure  he  cut,  presented  himself  to  the 
audience,  and  was,  of  course,  received  with  a  load  laugh. 

Now,  in  the  first  scene  of  the  play,  Sampson,  according  to 
the  stage-direction,  has  to  bite  his  thumb  at  Abram,  a  servitor 
of  the  rival  house,  upon  which  the  following  dialogue  ensues : — 

"Abram.  Do  yon  bite  your  thumb  at  us,  air  ? 
"  Samp,  (aside)  Is  the  law  on  our  side  if  I  say  ay  ? 
"  Gregory.  No. 

"Samp.  No,  sir,  I  do  not  bite  my  thumb  at  you,  sir;  but  I  bite  my  thumb 

Billy  Coombes  very  coolly  omitted  biting  his  thumb  at  all 
hut  the  actor  who  played  Abram,  desirous  to  carry  on  the  busi- 


ness  of  the  scene,  thought  it  best  to  take  it  for  granted  that  the 
stage-direction  had  been  complied  with,  and  turning  indig- 
nantly round,  said, 

"  Do  you  bite  your  thumb  at  us,  sir  ?" 

"  No,  sir,"  replied  Billy  Coombes,  in  a  clear  and  loud  voice ; 
"  I  would,  sir,  with  pleasure,  only  my  master  puts  me  into  such 
a  queer  coat,  sir,"  holding  up  one  of  the  long  sleeves,  "  that  I 
can't  get  at  my  fist  for  the  life  of  me." 

The  audience  roared,  the  actors  laughed,  and  for  some 
minutes  the  stage-business  was  at  a  complete  stand- still :  Billy 
meanwhile  making  many  apparently  sincere  and  laboured 
attempts  to  uncover  his  hand,  in  which  at  last  he  thought 
proper  to  succeed,  and  giving  the  right  cue,  the  play  went  on. 

When  Grimaldi  returned  to  town,  the  rehearsals  of  "  Harle- 
quin and  the  Sylph  of  the  Oak,  or  the  Blind  Beggar  of  Bethnal 
Green,"  commenced  at  Covent  Garden.  It  was  produced  with 
great  success  at  the  usual  time,  and  was  followed,  in  April, 
1816,  by  Pocock's  melodrama  of  "Robinson  Crusoe,  or  the  Bold 
Buccaneer,"  in  which  Grimaldi  played  Friday,  and  Farley 
acted  Crusoe.  This  was  the  most  successful  adaptation  of  De 
Toe's  great  story ;  it  was  played  for  a  great  many  nights,  and  ia 
still  occasionally  performed.* 

•  Performed  for  the  first  time,  on  Wednesday,  December  26, 1806.  Harlequin, 
Mr.  Bologna;  Clown,  Mr.  Grimaldi;  Pantaloon,  Mr.  Norman;  Flyflap,  at- 
tendant on  Harlequin,  by  Master  Grimaldi ;  Columbine,  Miss  T.  Dennett,  h*  f 
tfvrt  txitooaranoa  in  thut  character. 



1816  to  1817. 

He  quits  Sadler's  Wells  in  consequence  of  a  disagreement  with  the  Proprietors 
— Lord  Byron — Ketirement  of  John  Kemble — Immense  success  of  Grimaldi 
in  the  Provinces,  and  his  great  Gains — A  scene  in  a  Barber's  Shop. 

AT  Sadler's  "Wells  the  principal  novelty  of  the  season  of  1816 
was  a  very  successful  melodrama  called  "  Philip  and  his  Dog." 
During  a  period  of  thirty-eight  years,  that  is  to  say  from  1782* 
to  1820  inclusive,  Grimaldi  was  never  absent  from  Sadler's 
Wells,  except  for  one  season.  The  cause  of  his  non-engage- 
ment in  1817  was  this: — His  former  articles  expiring  a  few 
days  before  the  close  of  the  previous  season,  he  received  a  note 
from  Mr.  Charles  Dibdin,  requesting  to  know  upon  what  terms 
he  would  be  disposed  to  renew  them.  He  replied,  that  they 
had  only  to  make  the  pounds t  guineas,  and  he  would  be  con- 
tent. There  was  no  objection  to  this  proposition,  but  he  was 
informed  that  the  proprietors  had  arrived  at  the  resolution  of  no 
longer  allowing  him  two  benefits  in  each  year,  and  of  permitting 
him  in  future  to  take  only  one.  He  considered  this  a  very 
arbitrary  and  unjust  proceeding.  As  he  had  never  under  any 
circumstances  cleared  less  than  150£.  from  a  benefit,  this  reduc- 
tion necessarily  involved  the  diminution  of  his  yearly  income 
Iby  a  large  sum ;  and  as  he  paid  60£.  for  the  house  on  every  such 
occasion,  which  was  probably  more  than  it  would  otherwise 
have  had  in  it,  he  did  not  think  that  the  proprietors  could  urge 
any  just  reason  for  proposing  the  alteration.  After  considering 
these  points,  he  wrote  to  Mr.  Charles  Dibdin,  at  that  time  a 
proprietor  himself,  that  he  could  on  no  Consideration  give  up 
either  of  his  accustomed  benefits.  To  this  note  he  received  no 
reply,  but  he  confidently  expected  that  they  would  not  attempt 
a  season  without  him,  he  being  at  that  time  unquestionably  the 
lion  of  the  theatre,  and  certainly  drawing  money  to  the  house. 
He  was,  however,  deceived,  for  he  heard  no  more  from  Mr. 
Charles  Dibdin,  and  eventually  learned  that  Paulo  was  engaged 
in  his  place. 

•  Joe  made  his  debitt  on  the  stage,  at  Sadler's  Wells,  on  Easter  Monday,  1781. 

t  Grimaldi's  salary  at  this  time  was  twelve  pounds,  but  the  determination  of 
not  allowing  him  the  second  benefit  was  the  cause  of  his  absence  from  the  Well? 
in  1817. 


In  the  November  of  this  year  he  made  a  little  excursion  of 
four  days  to  Brighton,  the  theatre  of  which  town  belonged  to 
Mr.  John  Brunton,  who  was  likewise  an  actor,  and  a  very  good 
one  too,  at  Covent  Garden.  This  gentleman  was  the  father  of 
one  of  our  best  modern  actresses— Mrs.  Yates,  whose  talents  are 
so  well  and  so  deservedly  appreciated.  He  was  always  a  kind 
friend  to  Grimaldi,  and  had  no  cause  to  accuse  him  of  ingrati- 

At  Brighton  they  played  "  Valentine  and  Orson,"  "  Kobinson 
Crusoe,"  &c..  in  which  Brunton,  who  was  well  acquainted  with 
pantomime  and  melodrama,  acted  Farley's  parts,  while  Gri- 
maldi, of  course,  sustained  his  original  characters.  They  were 
very  successful  indeed,  Grimaldi  receiving  100£.  for  his  remune- 
ration, with  which,  as  will  be  readily  supposed,  he  was  perfectly 
well  satisfied. 

At  this  time  he  repeatedly  met  with  Lord  Byron,  not  only  at 
Covent  Garden,  but  at  various  private  parties  to  which  he  was 
invitod ;  and  eventually  they  became  very  good  Mends.  Lord 
Byron  was,  as  all  the  world  knows,  an  eccentric  man,  and  he 
loses  nothing  of  the  character  in  Grimaldi's  hands. 

" Sometimes,"  he  says,  "his  lordship  appeared  lost  in  deep 
melancholy,  and  when  that  was  the  case,  really  looked  the  pic- 
ture of  despair,  for  his  face  was  highly  capable  of  expressing 
profound  grief;  at  other  times  he  was  very  lively,  chatting  with 
great  spirit  and  vivacity ;  and  then  occasionally  he  would  be  a 
complete  fop,  exhibiting  his  white  hands  and  teeth  with  an 
almost  ludicrous  degree  of  affectation.  But  whether  '  grave  or 
gay,  lively  or  severe,'  his  bitter,  biting  sarcasm  never  was 
omitted  or  forgotten." 

It  never  fell  to  Grimaldi's  lot  to  hear  any  person  say  such 
severe  things  as  Byron  accustomed  himself  to  utter,  and  they 
tended  not  a  little  to  increase  the  awe  with  which,  upon  their 
first  interview,  he  had  been  predisposed  to  regard  him.  As  to 
Grimaldi  himself,  Byron  invi.  'ably  acted  towards  him  with 
much  condescension  and  good  h amour,  frequently  conversing 
with  him  for  hours  together;  and  when  the  business  of  the 
evening  called  him  away,  he  would  wait  at  the  "  wings"  for 
him,  and  as  soon  as  he  came  off  the  stage,  recommence  the  con- 
versation where  it  had  been  broken  off.  Grimaldi  rarely  contra- 
dicted him,  fearing  to  draw  down  upon  himself  the  sarcasms 
which  he  constantly  heard  fulminated  against  others ;  and  when 
they  spoke  on  subjects  with  Byron's  opinions  upon  which  he 
was  unacquainted,  he  cautiously  endeavoured  to  ascertain  them 
before  he  ventured  to  give  his  own,  fearing,  as  he  felt  so  very 
warmly  upon  most  questions,  that  he  might  chance  to  dissent 
from  him  upon  one  in  which  he  took  great  interest. 

Before  Lord  Byron  left  England  upon  the  expedition  whence 
he  was  (kstiued  to  return  no  more,  he  presented  Grimaldi,  as  a 



token,  lie  said,  of  his  regard,  with  a  valuable  silver  snuff-box,0 
around  which  was  the  inscription,  "  The  gift  of  Lord  Byron  to 
Joseph  Grimaldi."  It  was  of  course  preserved  with  the  most 
scrupulous  care,  and  valued  more  highly  than  any  article  in  his 
possession.  It  is  but  an  act  of  justice  to  both  parties  to  say, 
that  Lord  Byron  always  treated  him  with  the  greatest  libe- 
rality. In  1808,  when  he  saw  him  act  for  the  first  time,  he  sent 
a  message  to  his  residence,  requesting  that  he  would  always 
forward  to  him  one  box  ticket  whenever  he  took  a  benefit. 
This  he  regularly  did,  and  in  return  invariably  received  on  the 
following  day  a  five-pound  note. 

"  Harlequin  Gulliver,  or  the  Flying  Island,"  which  was  the 
pantomime  of  the  year  at  Covent  Garden,  was  so  successful  as 
to  be  played  sixty-three  nights  before  Easter.  On  the  30th  of 
March,  a  piece,  under  the  title  of  "  The  Marquis  de  Carabbas, 
or  Puss  in  Boots,"  was  produced,  and  utterly  failed.  It  was  a 
very  poor  affair,  was  only  played  one  night,  and  appears  to  have 
fully  deserved  its  fate. 

On  the  same  night  Sadler's  "Wells  commenced  its  season,  upon 
which  occasion  the  unexpected  absence  of  Grimaldi  occasioned 
quite  a  commotion  among  the  Audience.  He  had  said  nothing 
about  it  himself,  nor  was  the  circumstance  known  to  the  public 
until  the  bills  were  put  forth,  when  the  announcement  of 
Paulo's  engagement  and  Grimaldi's  secession  occasioned  much 
surprise  and  some  manifestation  of  feeling.  Grimaldi  had  been 
spending  a  few  days  at  Egham ;  and  upon  his  return  to  town, 
towards  the  latter  end  of  March,  was  not  a  little  amazed  to  see 
the  walls  in  the  neighbourhood  of  his  house  in  Spa-fields  com- 
pletely covered  with  placards  emanating  from  the  rival  parties, 
some  bearing  the  words  "  Joey  for  ever  !"  others  displaying 
"  No  Paulo !"  and  others,  again,  "  No  Grimaldi !"  It  was 
supposed  by  some  that  Grimaldi  himself  had  a  hand  in  the 
distribution  of  these  bills ;  but  he  solemnly  denied  it,  declaring 
that  he  never  saw  or  heard  anything  of  them  until  they  were 
paraded  upon  the  walls  on  his  return  to  town. 

The  theatre  opened  with  "  Philip  and  his  Dog,"  and  a  new 
harlequinade,  called  "April  Fools,  or  Months  and  Mummery." 
Being  informed  that  it  was  Dibdin's  intention,  if  any  disturb- 
ance occurred  in  consequence  of  his  absence,  to  address  the 
house,  and  state  that  it  had  resulted  from  Grimaldi's  express 
wish,  he  went  to  the  boxes  on  the  opening  night,  determined,  if 
any  such  statement  were  made,  to  address  the  audience  from 
his  place,  and  explain  the  circumstances  under  which  he  had 
left  the  theatre.  He  was  spared  this  very  disagreeable  task, 
however,  no  other  expression  of  public  feeling  taking  place 
except  that  which  is  of  all  others  most  sensibly  and  acutely  felt 
by  a  manager — the  people  stayed  away.  Instead  of  every  seat 

•  Mrs.  Bryan,  Joe's  legatee,  possesses  this  snuff-box. 


oeing  taken,  and  standing-places  eagerly  secured,  as  ^  'had 
formerly  been  the  case,  the  theatre  was  not  a  quarter  filled. 
There  were  only  forty  persons,  and  these  principally  friends  of 
the  proprietors,  in  the  boxes;  not  more  than  a  hundred  in 
the  pit,  and  the  gallery  was  not  half  full.  Grimaldi  stayed  only 
the  first  act  of  the  first  piece,  and  then,  seeing  no  probability  of 
being  called  for,  walked  away  to  Covent  Garden,  to  dress  for 
"Puss  in  Boots,"  the  untimely  fate  of  which  has  been  already 

The  next  morning,  the  newspapers,  one  and  all,  made  known 
Grimaldi's  absence  from  Sadler's  Wells,  and  regretted  it  as  a 
circumstance  which  could  not  fail  to  prove  very  injurious  to  the 
interests  of  the  theatre.  They  did  this  without  decrying  the 
merits  of  Paulo,  who  was  really  a  very  good  Clown,  but  who 
laboured  under  the  double  disadvantage  of  not  being  known  at 
Sadler's  "Wells,  and  of  following  in  the  wake  of  one  who  had 
been  a  great  favourite  there  for  so  many  years. 

Grimaldi's  non-engagement  at  Sadler's  Wells  was  no  sooner 
made  known,  than  the  provincial  managers  vied  with  each 
other  in  their  endeavours  to  secure  him.  Mr.  W.  Murray,  the 
manager  of  the  Edinburgh  and  Glasgow  Theatres,  offered  him 
an  engagement  at  each  for  six  nights  when  Covent  Garden 
closed,  which  he  immediately  accepted.  The  terms  were  these : 
— Grimaldi  was  to  have  the  best  night's  receipts  out  of  each  six, 
Murray  the  second  best,  and  the  other  four  to  be  equally 
divided  between  them,  deducting  forty  pounds  for  expenses. 
He  had  no  sooner  closed  with  this  proprietor  than  he  was 
waited  upon  by  Mr.  Knight,  of  the  Manchester  and  Liverpool 
Theatres,  who  offered  him  an  engagement  for  three  weeks,  into 
which  he  also  entered.  There  then  followed  such  a  long  list  of 
offers,  that  if  he  had  had  twelve  months  at  his  disposal  instead 
of  six  weeks,  they  would  have  occupied  the  whole  time.  Many 
of  these  offers  were  of  the  most  handsome  and  liberal  nature ; 
and  it  was  with  great  regret  that  he  was  compelled  to  decline 

As  there  was  nothing  for  Grimaldi  to  do  at  Covent  Garden,  in 
consequence  of  the  early  decease  of  "  Puss  in  Boots,"  he  accepted 
an  overture  from  Mr.  Brunton,  who  was  the  lessee  of  the 
Birmingham  Theatre,  for  himself  and  his  son,  to  act  there  for 
seven  nights.  It  was  the  son's  first  provincial  excursion,  and 
the  profits  were  somewhere  about  two  hundred  pounds.  He 
took  Worcester  in  his  way  on  his  return,  and  agreed,  at  the 
pressing  request  of  Mr.  Crisp,  the  manager,  to  stop  and  play 
there  one  night.  He  offered  forty  pounds  down,  or  a  fair 
division  of  the  receipts.  Grimalcu.  chose  the  former  terms, 
acted  Scaramouch  to  a  very  crowded  house,  sang  several  songs, 
and  finished  with  a  little  pantomime  in  which  he  and  his  soa 
were  Clowns.  He  supped  with  the  manager,  who,  at  the  con- 
clusion of  the  weal,  orosented  him  with  a  fifty-pound  note, 


saying*,  if  lie  would  accept  that  sum  in  lieu  of  the  one  agreed 
upon,  it  was  heartily  at  his  service,  and  he  (the  manager) 
would  still  be  a  great  gainer  by  the  transaction.  This  liberal 
treatment  gave  him  a  very  favourable  impression  of  the 
Worcester  manager,  whom  he  assured,  that,  should  he  ever  be 
in  that  part  of  the  country  again,  he  would  not  fail  to  commu- 
nicate with  him.  The  next  day,  father  and  son  both  returned 
to  town,  when  the  former  had  the  satisfaction  of  hearing  that 
he  had  not  been  wanted  at  Covent  Garden.  He  found  several 
letters  from  provincial  managers  offering  great  terms ;  but  as 
he  was  obliged  to  be  in  London  at  the  opening  of  Covent 
Garden,  and  the  theatres  to  which  they  related  did  not  lie  any- 
where in  his  route  from  Edinburgh  to  Liverpool,  he  had  no 
option  but  to  decline  these  proposals. 

On  the  23rd  of  June,  in  this  year,  John  Kemble  took  his  final 
leave  of  the  stage,  the  entertainments  being  "  Coriolanus,"  and 
"  The  Portrait  of  Cervantes."  At  the  conclusion  of  the  play, 
in  which  he  had  sustained  the  chief  part  with  all .  his  wonted 
dignity  and  grace,  Kemble  spoke  a  brief  address,  in  which  he 
took  his  farewell  of  the  public,  whom  he  had  so  long  delighted. 
A  white  satin  scarf  with  a  wreath  was  thrown  from  the  boxes, 
which  falling  short,  lighted  in  the  orchestra ;  upon  which  M. 
Talma,  the  French  tragedian,  who  was  sitting  there,  instantly 
rose  from  his  seat  and  placed  it  on  the  stage,  amidst  thunders  of 

Grimaldi  appeared  but  seldom  during  the  remainder  of  the 
season  at  Covent  Garden,  which  closed  on  the  2nd  of  July.  On 
the  following  day  he  left  London  for  Scotland.  When  he 
reached  Edinburgh,  he  was  not  a  little  surprised  to  hear  from 
Mr.  Murray,  that  in  consequence  of  Emery  being  engaged  to 
play  at  Glasgow,  he  should  be  obliged  to  limit  his  (Grimaldi's) 
nights  there  to  three  instead  of  six,  as  agreed  upon.  This  very 
much  surprised  him ;  but  as  there  was  no  help  for  it,  he  ac- 
quiesced with  a  good  grace,  and  left  Edinburgh  immediately  for 
Glasgow,  where  he  was  to  act  on  the  following  night.  It 
chanced  that  it  was  Sunday,  a  day  on  which  the  common  stage- 
coaches  do  not  run  in  Scotland,  and  he  therefore  took  a  post- 
chaise,  which  was  eleven  hours  and  a  half  performing  the 
distance,  or  about  double  the  time  in  which  he  could  have 
walked  it  with  ease. 

" Whittington,"  "Don  Juan,"  "Valentine  and  Orson,"  and 
"  The  Eivals,"  were  the  pieces  acted  at  Glasgow.  In  the  first 
three  his  son  performed  with  him ;  in  the  latter  he  played 
Acres,  and  was  very  well  received.  He  played  this  part  thro  ugh- 
out  his  provincial  trips,  and  always  to  the  perfect  satisfaction 
and  amusement  of  the  audience.  He  never  played  llichard  the 
Third  in  the  provinces,  as  has  been  represented,  but  limited  his 
performance  of  characters  out  of  pantomime  or  melodrama,  to 
Acres,  Moll  Elaggon,  and  one  other  part. 


When  Grimaldi  had  finished  at  Glasgow,  he  joined  the  com- 
pany at  Edinburgh,  where  he  played  Acres  twice.  The  song  of 
Tippity  witchet  took  amazingly  with  the  gude  folks  of  Auld 
Reekie,  and  hoth  he  and  his  son  were  received  with  great  kind- 
ness and  favour. 

On  the  day  after  the  completion  of  the  engagement,  Mr. 
Murray  called  at  Grimaldi's  lodgings,  and  wrote  him  a  cheque 
for  417£  as  his  share,  concluding  by  inviting  him  to  pay  him  a 
similar  visit  during  the  following  summer.  The  next  morning 
he  went  to  the  bank  to  get  his  cheque  cashed,  when  he  was  told 
that  he  could  only  receive  Edinburgh  notes,  which  were  not 
payable  out  of  Scotland,  unless  he  consented  to  pay  five  per 
cent,  for  the  accommodation.  He  was  very  loth  to  accept  the 
one  or  pay  the  other ;  which  the  banker  perceiving,  told  him 
that  he  happened  to  have  a  Bank-stock  English  note,  payable 
forty  days  after  sight,  for  400£.,  which  he  could  let  him  nave. 
Not  being  short  of  cash,  he  accepted  this,  and  received  the  111. 
balance  in  Scotch  notes.  ^ 

On  the  22nd,  Grimaldi  left  Edinburgh  for  Berwick,  where  he 
had  promised  to  play  for  two  nights,  and  where  he  came  out  the 
following  evening.  He  was  greatly  amazed  when  he  saw  the 
theatre  at  this  town :  it  was  situate  up  a  stable  yard,  in  a  loft, 
to  reach  which  it  was  necessary  to  climb  two  flights  of  stairs, 
the  whole  entrance  being  mean  and  dirty,  and,  to  ladies  espe- 
cially, particularly  disagreeable.  But  his  surprise  was  far  from 
being  confined  to  the  exterior  of  the  theatre :  on  the  contrary, 
when  he  surveyed  its  interior,  and  found  it  neat  and  complete, 
perfect  in  its  appointments,  and  even  stylish  in  its  decorations, 
his  amazement  was  increased.  It  was  still  further  augmented 
by  the  appearance  and  manner  of  the  audience  to  which  he 
played  in  the  evening,  for  he  had  never  by  any  chance  acted 
(taking  the  size  of  the  building  into  consideration)  to  a  more 
fashionable  and  brilliant  box-company. 

The  second  night  was  as  good  as  the  first,  and  he  received  for 
his  exertions  921.  7s.  On  this  evening  he  supped  with  the 
manager,  and  during  their  meal  the  servant  brought  in  a  letter 
directed  to  Grimaldi,  which  had  just  been  left  at  the  door  by  a 
footman  in  livery,  who,  after  delivering  it,  had  immediately 
walked  away.  He  broke  the  seal,  and  read  as  follows  : 

"  SIR, — Accept  the  enclosed  as  a  reward  of  your  merit,  and 
the  entertainment  we  have  received  from  you  this  evening. 

"  A  FRIEND. 

"  Thursday,  July  24th,  1817." 

The  "  inclosed"  alluded  to  by  the  writer  was  a  bank  note  for 
501.  \ 

Next  day  Grimaldi  bade  adieu  to  Berwick,  and  went  direct 
to  Liverpool,  where  he  made  his  first  appearance  on  the  30th  ; 
and  here,  according  to  previous  arrangement,  he  remained  three 


weeks.  His  salary  was  to  be  111.  per  week,  with  half  a  cleai 
benefit,  or  the  whole  house  for  40£.,  which  he  chose. 

As  the  night  fixed  upon  for  his  benefit  (which  was  the  last  of 
his  engagement)  drew  nigh,  he  began  anxiously  to  deliberate 
whether  he  should  speculate  in  the  "  whole  house,"  or  not.  He 
had  no  friends  or  acquaintances  in  Liverpool  to  assist  him,  but, 
on  the  other  hand,  he  had  made  a  tremendous  hit ;  so,  not  being 
able  to  decide  himself,  he  called  in  the  aid  of  his  friends,  Emery, 
Blanchard,  and  Jack  Johnstone,  who  chanced  to  be  there  at  the 
time,  and  requested  their  advice  how  he  should  proceed.  With 
one  accord  they  advised  him  to  venture  upon  taking  the  house, 
which  he,  adopting  their  advice,  forthwith  did,  paying  down 
his  40£.,  however,  with  many  doubts  as  to  the  result.  He  lost 
no  time  in  making  out  his  bill,  and  getting  it  printed.  The  play 
was  "  The  Rivals,"  in  which  he  acted  Acres,  and  the  afterpiece 
the  pantomime  of  "  Harlequin's  Olio,"  in  which  his  son  was  to 
appear  as  Flipflap,  a  kind  of  attendant  upon  harlequin,  and  he 
as  the  clown. 

Several  days  elapsed,  but  nothing  betokening  a  good  benefit 
presented  itself,  and  Grimaldi  began  to  suspect  it  would  turn 
out  a  complete  failure.  On  the  morning  of  the  very  day  he  had 
sold  only  fourteen  tickets,  and  walked  to  the  theatre  with 
rather  downcast  spirits.  At  the  box  door  he  met  Mr.  Banks, 
one  of  the  managers,  who  addressed  him  with, 

"  Well,  Joe,  a  precious  benefit  you  will  have  !" 

"  So  I  expect,"  he  answered,  with  a  sigh. 

"Have  you  looked  at  the  box-book  r"  inquired  the  manager, 
with  a  slight  degree  of  surprise  in  his  manner. 

"  No,"  said  Grimaldi ;  "  I  really  am  afraid  to  do  so." 

"Afraid!"  echoed  the  manager;  "upon  my  word,  Mr.  Gri- 
maldi, I  don't  know  what  you  would  have,  or  what  you%  are 
afraid  of.  Every  seat  in  the  boxes  is  taken  ;  and  if  there  had 
been  more,  they  would  have  been  let." 

Hastening  to  the  box-office,  Grimaldi  found  that  this  good 
news  was  perfectly  correct.  His  benefit,  which  took  place  on 
the  20th  August,  produced  the  greatest  receipts  ever  known 
in  that  theatre :  the  sum  taken  was  328?.  14s.,  being  ll.  more 
than  was  received  at  Miss  O'JSTeiTs  benefit  (who  was  a  wonderful 
favourite  in  the  town),  and  beating  John  Emery's  by  51.  He 
cleared  upwards  of  280Z.,  by  following  the  advice  of  his  friends; 
upon  the  strength  of  which  they  all  dined  together  next  day, 
and  made  very  merry. 

Many  offers  from  other  theatres  came  pouring  in,  but  Gri- 
maldi only  accepted  two :  one  to  act  at  Preston,  and  the  other  to 
play  four  nights  at  Hereford  for  Mr.  Crisp,  for  whom  he  naturally 
entertained  very  friendly  feelings,  remembering  the  courteous 
and  handsome  manner  in  which  he  had  treated  him  at  Worcester. 

Two  days  after  his  great  benefit,  Grimaldi  travelled  over  to 
Preston,  to  fulfil  his  engagement  with  Mr-  Howard,  the  manager, 


but  was  very  much  dispirited  by  the  number  of  Quakers  whom 
he  saw  walking  about  the  streets,  and  whose  presence  in  such 
numbers  caused  him  to  entertain  great  doubts  of  the  success  of 
this  trip.  The  manager,  however,  was  more  sanguine,  and,  as 
it  afterwards  appeared,  with  good  reason.  He  played  Acres  and 
Scaramouch  to  full  houses,  the  receipts  on  the  first  night  being 
84Z.,  and  on  the  second  871.  16*.  His  share  of  the  joint 
receipts  was  86Z.,  with  which  sum,  as  it  far  exceeded  his  ex- 
pectations, he  was  well  contented. 

On  the  second  day  after  Grimaldi' s  arrival  in  Preston,  a  little 
circumstance  occurred,  which  amused  him  so  much,  that  he 
intended  to  have  introduced  it  in  one  of  his  pantomime  scenes, 
although  he  never  did  so.  He  was  walking  along  the  street  by 
the  market-place,  when,  observing  a  barber's  pole  projecting 
over  the  pavement,  and  recollecting  that  he  wanted  shaving,  he 
opened  the  shop-door,  from  above  which  hung  the  pole,  and 
looking  into  the  shop,  saw  a  pretty  little  girl,  about  sixteen 
years  of  age,  who  was  sitting  at  needlework.  She  rose  to  receive 
him,  and  he  inquired  if  the  master  was  within. 

"  No,  sir,"  said  the  girl ;  "  but  I  expect  him  directly." 

"  Very  good,"  replied  Grimaldi :  "  I  want  to  look  about  me  a 
little;  I'll  call  again." 

After  strolling  through  the  market-place  a  little  while,  he 
called  a^iin,  but  the  barber  had  not  come  home.  Grimaldi  was 
walking  down  the  street  after  this  second  unsuccessful  call, 
when  he  encountered  Mr.  Howard,  the  manager,  with  whom  he 
fell  into  conversation,  and  they  walked  up  and  down  the  street 
talking  together.  As  he  was  going  to  the  theatre,  and  wished 
Grimaldi  to  accompany  him,  they  turned  in  that  direction,  and 
passing  the  barbers  shop,  again  looked  in.  The  girl  was  still 
sitting  at  work  ;  but  she  laid  it  aside  when  the  visitors  entered, 
and  said  she  really  was  very  sorry,  but  her  father  had  not 
come  in  yet. 

"That's  very  provoking,"  said  Grimaldi,  "considering  that 
I  have  called  here  three  times  already." 

The  girl  agreed  that  it  was,  and,  stepping  to  the  door,  looked 
anxiously  up  the  street  and  down  the  street,  but  there  was  no 
barber  in  sight. 

"Do  you  want  to  see  him  on  any  particular  business?"  in- 
quired Howard. 

"  Bless  my  heart !  no,  not  I,"  said  Grimaldi :  "  I  only  want 
to  be  shaved." 

"  Shaved,  sir !"  cried  the  girl.  "  Oh,  dear  me  !  what  a  pity 
it  is  you  did  not  say  so  before  !  for  I  do  most  of  the  shaving  for 
father  when  he's  at  home,  and  all  when  he's  out." 

"  To  be  sure  she  does,"  said  Howard  ;  "I  have  been  shaved 
by  her  fifty  times." 

"  You  have  !"  said  Grimaldi.  "  Oh,  I'm  sure  I  have  no  objec- 
tion. I  am  quite  ready,  my  dear." 


Grimaldi  sat  himself  down  in  a  chair,  and  the  girl  commenced 
the  task  in  a  very  business-like  manner,  Grimaldi  feeling  an 
irresistible  tendency  to  laugh  at  the  oddity  of  the  operation,  but 
smothering  it  by  dint  of  great  efforts  while  the  girl  was  shaving 
his  chin.  At  length,  when  she  got  to  his  upper  lip,  and  took 
his  nose  between  her  fingers  with  a  piece  of  brown  paper,  he 
could  stand  it  no  longer,  but  burst  into  a  tremendous  roar  of 
laughter,  and  made  a  face  at  Howard,  which  the  girl  no  sooner 
saw  than  she  dropped  the  razor  and  laughed  immoderately 
also ;  whereat  Howard  began  to  laugh  too,  which  only  set 
Grimaldi  laughing  more ;  when  just  at  this  moment  in  came 
the  barber,  who,  seeing  three  people  in  convulsions  of  mirth, 
one  of  them  with  a  soapy  face  and  a  gigantic  mouth  making  the 
most  extravagant  faces  over  a  white  towel,  threw  himself  into 
a  chair  without  ceremony,  and  dashing  ^his  hat  on  the  ground, 
laughed  louder  than  any  of  them,  declaring  in  broken  words  as 
he  could  find  breath  to  utter  them,  that  "  that  gentleman  as  was 
being  shaved,  was  out  of  sight  the  funniest  gentleman  he  had 
ever  seen,"  and  entreating  him  to  "  stop  them  faces,  or  he  knew 
he  should  die."  When  they  were  all  perfectly  exhausted,  the 
barber  finished  what  his  daughter  had  begun ;  and  rewarding 
the  girl  with  a  shilling,  Grimaldi  and  the  manager  took  their 
leaves.  , 

Having  settled  at  the  theatre,  received  his  money,  and  made 
several  purchases  in  the  town,  (for  he  always  spent  a  per-centago 
in  every  place  where  he  had  been  successful,)  Grrimaidi  returned 
to  Liverpool  on  the  24th  of  August. 



More  provincial  success — Bologna  and  hia  economy — Comparative  clearness  ol 
Welsh  Bare-bits  and  Partridges — Remarkably  odd  modes  of  saving  money. 

HAVING  no  engagement  at  Liverpool, — indeed,  having  no  time 
to  accept  one, — Grimaldi  remained  there  only  two  days,  at  the 
expiration  of  which  time  he  went  to  Heneiord,  and  having 
waited  on  Mr.  Crisp,  the  manager,  went  to  look  at  the  theatre, 
which,  to  his  great  astonishment  and  concern,  he  found  to  be 
nothing  more  than  a  common  square  room,  with  a  stage  four 
yards  wide  and  about  as  many  high,  the  head  of  the  statue  in 
Don  Juan  being  obscured  by  the  liies,  and  thus  rendered  wholly 
invisible  to  the  audience  What  made  this  circumstance  the 
more  annoying,  was,  that  on  the  statue  being  seen  to  nod  its 
head  depended  the  effect  of  one  of  the  very  best  scenes  of 

As  Grimaldi  did  not  hesitate  to  express  his  great  mortification 
and  annoyance,  and  his  decided  indisposition  to  act  in  such  a 
place  for  four  nights,  which  was_the  term  originally  proposed, 
a  fresh  arrangement  was  entered  into,  by  which,  he  engaged  to 
play  two  nights  at  Hereford,  and  two  at  Worcester,  where  he 
knew  there  was  a  better  _  theatre.  At  the  former  town  the 
receipts  were  on  the  first  night  42^.,  and  on  the  second  45£.,  his 
share  of  the  total  being  43/.  10s.  At  Worcester,  the  receipts  of 
the  first  night  were  S7l.,  and  of  the  second  93Z.  16*.  :  here  lie 
also  received  a  moiety  of  the  two  nights'  receipts. 

Having  now  concluded  his  provincial  engagements,  Grimaldi 
repaired  to  Cheltenham  for  rest  and  relaxation,  and  remained 
there  until  the  second  week  in  September,  when  he  returned  to 
London.  f  While  at  Cheltenham,  he  stumbled  upon  his  old 
friend,  Richer,  the  rope-dancer,  already  mentioned  as  having 
been  engaged  at  Sadler's  Wells,  at  an  early  period  of  Grimaldi's 
career.  He  had  retired  from  the  profession,  and  was  married 
to  the  widow  of  a  clergyman  who  had  died  extremely  rich. 
They  were  living  in  great  style,  and  to  all  appearance  very 

The  following  account  of  Grimaldi's  gains  during  this  short 
excursion  will  afford  some  idea  of  the  immense  sums  he  was  in 
the  habit  of  receiving  about  this  time.  The  amount  was  so 


much  more  than  he  had  supposed,  that  on  going  over  the 
calculation,  he  could  scarcely  believe  he  was  correct.  It  was  as 
follows : — 

Brighton,  four  nights 

Birmingham,  six  . 

Worcester,  one 

Glasgow  and  Edinburgh,  nine 

Berwick,  two 

Liverpool,  sixteen 

Preston,  two 

Hereford,  two 

Worcester,  (2nd  visit)  two 

Total    .  .  £1423  19    0 

The  accounts  which  he  received  at  Sadler's  Wells  on  his 
return  were  unusually  had.  They  were  fully  corroborated  by 
Mr.  Hughes,  who  informed  him  it  had  been  the  very  worst 
season  the  theatre  nad  ever  known. 

Having  nothing  to  do  at  Covent  Garden,  and  entertaining  a 
very  pleasant  and  lively  recollection  of  the  profits  of  his  last 
trip,  Grimaldi  determined  on  making  another  excursion, 
and  accepted  an  offer  from  Elliston,  to  play  four  nights  at 
Birmingham,  by  which  he  cleared  150/.  From  Birmingham 
he  went  to  Leicester,  where  Elliston  also  had  a  theatre,  and 
where  he  played  for  two  nights,  being  accompanied  by  Mr. 
Brunton,  who  was  Elliston's  stage-manager.  They  were  very 
successful,  Grimaldi's  share  of  the  receipts  being  70£. 

The  morning  after  his  last  performance  here,  Grimaldi  took 
a  post-chaise  and  started  for  Chester,  where  he  had  undertaken 
to  act  for  one  week.  As  the  chaise  drove  up  to  the  White  Lion, 
the  London  coach  drove  up  too,  and,  seated  on  the  outside,  he 
saw,  to  his  great  surprise,  his  old  friend  Old  Bologna,  who,  it 
appeared,  had  been  engaged  expressly  to  perform  with  him  in 
"Mother  Goose."  The  unexpected  meeting  afforded  great  plea- 
sure to  both,  and  having  ordered  a  private  sitting  room  and  a 
good  dinner,  they  sat  down  together  and  fell  into  conversation ; 
in  the  course  of  which  Bologna,  by  various  hints  and  other 
slight  remarks,  gave  his_  friend  to  understand  that  his  old 
characteristic  of  never  being  able,  without  a  strong  effort,  to 
make  up  his  mind  to  spend  a  penny  was  by  no  means  impaired 
by  time.  The  room  was  handsomely  fitted  up ;  and  the  dinner, 
which  was  speedily  placed  before  them,  consisted  of  a  great 
variety  of  expensive  delicacies,  the  sight  of  which  awakened  in 
Bologna's  mind  a  great  many  misgivings  concerning  the  bill, 
which  were  not  at  all  lessened  by  the  landlady's  informing 
them,  with  a  low  curtsey,  as  she  placed  the  first  dish  on  the 
table,  that  she  knew  who  they  were,  and  that  she  would  answer 
for  their  being  provided  with  every  luxury  and  comfort  the 
house  would  afford.  They  were  no  sooner  left  alone,  than 


Bologna,  with  a  very  dissatisfied  ^  air,  inf armed  his  friend  that 
he  saw  it  would  never  do  to  stay  in  that  house. 

"  Why  not  ?"  inquired  Grimaldi. 

"  Because  of  the  expense,"  he  answered.  "  Bless  me !  look  at 
the  accommodations :  what  do  you  suppose  they'll  charge  for  all 
this  ?  It  wont  suit  me,  Toe  ;  I  shall  be  off." 

"  You  can  do  as  you  please,"  rejoined  his  friend ;  "  but  if 
you'll  take  my  advice,  you'll  remain  where  you  are :  for  I  have 
ibund  from  experience,  that  if  there  is  a  choice  between  a  first- 
rate  and  a  second-rate  house,  one  should  always  go  to  the 
former.  There  you  have  the  best  articles  at  a  fair  price ;  while 
at  the  other  you  have  bad  things,  worse  served  up,  and 
enormously  dear." 

Bologna  was  ultimately  prevailed  upon  not  to  leave  the  house, 
contenting  himself  with  various  economical  resolutions,  which 
he  commenced  putting  in  practice  when  the  waiter  appeared  to 
know  if  they  would  order  supper. 

"  Supper !"  exclaimed  Bologna ;  "  certainly  not ;  not  on  any 
account.  Suppers  are  extremely  unhealthy :  I  never  take  them 
by  any  chance." 

"  You  may  get  some  supper  for  me"  said  Grimaldi,  "  and 
have  it  ready  at  half-past  eleven." 

"  What  will  you  like  to  order,  sir  ?" 

"  I'll  leave  it  to  the  landlady.    Anything  nice  will  do." 

"  Good  Heaven  !"  said  Bologna,  as  the  waiter  went  out  of  the 
room  ;  "  what  a  bill  you'll  have  to  pay  here  !" 

They  strolled  about  the  town  :  arranged  with  the  manager  to 
commence  next  night  with  "Mother  Goose,"  and  having  be- 
guiled the  time  till  supper,  repaired  to  the  inn,  where  a  fine 
brace  of  partridges,  done  to  a  turn,  were  placed  before  Grimaldi, 
which  his  companion  eyed  with  very  hungry  looks,  congratu- 
lating himself  aloud,  however,  upon  having  saved  himself  that 
expense,  at  all  events. 

There  was  a  silence  for  some  minutes,  broken  only  by  the 
clatter  of  the  knives  and  forks ;  and  then  Bologna,  who  had 
been  walking  up  and  down  the  room  in  a  restless  manner, 
stopped  short,  and  inquired  if  the  birds  were  nice  ? 

"  Very,"  replied  Grimaldi,  helping  himself  again;  "they  are 

Bologna  walked  up  and  down  the  room  faster  after  this,  and 
then  rang  the  bell  with  great  vehemence.  The  waiter  appeared, 
and  Bologna,  after  long  consideration,  hesitatingly  ordered  a 
Welsh  rare-bit. 

"Certainly,  sir,"  said  the  man;  and  by  the  time  Grimaldi 
had  finished  his  supper,  the  Welsh  rare-bit  appeared. 

"  Stop  a  minute,  waiter,"  said  Bologna.  "  Grimaldi,  do  you 
mean  to  take  supper  every  night  ?" 

"Certainly.    Every  night." 

"  Well,  then,  waiter,  remember  to  bring  me  a  Welsh  rare-bit 


every  evening  when  Mr.  Grimaldi  takes  his  supper.  I  don't 
want  it ;  but  it  has  so  rude  an  appearance  to  sit  looking-  on 
while  another  man  is  eating,  that  I  must  do  it  as  a  matter  of 
form  and  comfort.  You'll  not  forget  r" 

"I'll  be  sure  to  remember,. sir,"  was  the  reply. 

The  moment  he  was  gone,  Grimaldi  burst  into  a  great  roar  of 
laughter,  which  }a.s  friend  took  in  high  dudgeon,  muttering 
various  observations  regarding  extravagance,  which  were  re- 
sponded to  by  divers  remarks  relative  to  shabbiness,,  Neither 
of  them  gave  way,  and  the  supper  arrangement  was  regularly 
acted  upon ;  Grimaldi  alwavs  having  some^warm  dish  of  game  or 
poultry,  and  Bologna  solacing  himself  with  a  Welsh  rare-bit, 
and  the  reflection  of  having  saved  money  while  his  companion 
spent  it.  They  stayed  at  Chester  nine  days  in  all,  and  when 
the  bills  were  brought  at  last,  found,  as  Grimaldi  had  antici- 
pated, that  the  charges  were  moderate,  and  well  merited  by  the 
manner  in  which  they  had  been  accommodated. 

"Well,  Bologna,"  said  Grimaldi,  with  a  triumphant  air,  "are 
you  satisfied  ?" 

"  Pretty  well,"  he  replied.  "  I  must  acknowledge  that  the 
bills  are  not  so  heavy  as  I  feared  they  would  have  been ;  but 
there  is  one  terrible  mistake  in  mine.  Look  here  !  they  have 
charged  me  for  supper  every  night  just  as  they  have  charged 
you.  That  must  be  wrong,  you  know :  I  have  had  nothing  but* 
Welsh  rare-bits !" 

"  Certainly,"  said  Grimaldi,  looking  over  the  bill.  "  You 
had  better  ring  for  the  waiter  :  I  have  no  doubt  he  can  explain 
the  matter." 

The  bell  was  rung,  and  the  waiter  came. 

"  Oh  !  here's  a  mistake,  waiter,"  said  Bologna,  handing  him 
the  bill.  "  You  have  charged  me  for  supper  every  night  here, 
and  you'll  remember  I  only  had  a  Welsh  rare-bit.  Just  get  it 
altered,  will  you  ?" 

"  I  beg  your  pardon,  sir,"  replied  the  waiter,  glancing  from 
the  bill  to  the  customer ;  "  it's  quite  right,  sir." 

"  Quite  right  r" 

"  Quite,  sir  :  it's  the  rule  of  the  house,  sir — the  rule  of  every 
house  on  the  road — to  charge  in  that  way.  Half-a-crown  for 
supper,  sir ;  cold  beef,  fowl,  game,  or  bread  and  cheese :  always . 
half-a-crown,  sir.  There  were  a  great  many  other  dishes  that 
you  might  have  had ;  but  you  recollect  giving  a  particular  order 
for  a  Welsh  rare-bit,  sir  ?" 

The  saving  man  said  not  another  word,  but  paid  the  nine 
half-crowns  for  the  nine  Welsh  rare-bits,  to  his  own  great 
wrath  and  his  friend's  unspeakable  amusement. 

The  next  morning  they  returned  to  London,  and  on  the  road 
Grimaldi  had  another  instance  of  his  companion's  parsimony, 
which  determined  him  never  to  travel  in  his  company  again. 
When  the  coach  came  to  the  door,  he  was  perfectly  amazed  to 


find  that  the  economical  Harlequin  was  going  to  travel  outside, 
bat  not  surprised  to  hear  him  whisper,  when  he  expressed 
his  astonishment,  that  he  should  save  a  pound  by  it,  or  more. 

"  Yes,"  answered  Grimaldi,  "  and  catch  a  cold  by  sitting  out- 
side all  night,  after  your  exertions  at  the  theatre,  which  will 
cost  you  20£.  at  least." 

"  You  know  nothing  about  it,"  replied  Bologna,  with  a  wink: 
'*  I  shall  be  safe  inside  as  well  as  you." 

'*  What !  and  pay  outside  fare  ?" 

"Just  so,"  replied  he.  "I'll  tell  you  how  it  is.  I've  ascer- 
tained that  there's  one  place  vacant  inside,  and  that  the  coach 
belongs  to  our  landlady.  Now,  I  mean  to  remind  her  what  a 
deal  of  money  we  have  spent  in  the  house ;  to  tell  her  that  I 
shall  be  soon  coming  here  again ;  and  to  put  it  to  her,  whether 
she  wont  let  me  ride  at  least  a  part  of  the  way  inside." 

<  Grimaldi  was  not  a  little  offended  and  vexed  by  this  commu- 
nication, feeling  that,  as  they  had  been  stopping  at  the  house 
as  companions  and  friends,  he  was  rather  involved  in  the 
shabbiness  of  his  fellow-traveller.  His  angry  remonstrances, 
however,  produced  not  the  slightest  effect.  Bologna  acted 
precisely  as  he  had  threatened,  and  received  permission  from 
the  good  lady  of  the  house,  who  was  evidently  much  surprised 
at  the  application,  to  occupy  the  vacant  inside  place  ;  it  being 
stipulated  and  understood  on  both  sides,  that  if  anvwhere  on 
the  road  a  passenger  were  found  requiring  an  inside  place, 
Bologna  should  either  give  up  his,  or  pay  the  regular  fare  on  to 

As  Grimaldi  could  not  prevent  this  arrangement,  he  was 
compelled  to  listen  to  it  with  a  good  grace.  The  manager,  who 
came  to  see  them  off,  brought  100Z.  for  Grimaldi,  all  in  three- 
shilling  pieces,  packed  up  in  a  large  brown-paper  parcel ;  and 
this  part  of  the  luggage  being  stowed  in  the  coach-pocket,  away 
they  went,  Bologna  congratulating  himself  on  his  diplomacy, 
and  Grimaldi  consoling  himself  with  the  reflection  that  he 
should  know  how  to  avoid  him  in  future,  and  that  he  was  now, 
at  least,  safe  from  any  further  exhibition  of  his  parsimony 
during  the  journey.  The  former  resolution  he  kept,  but  in  the 
latter  conclusion  he  was  desperately  wrong. 

It  was  evening  when  they  started,  and  at  four  o'clock  in  the 
morning,  when  they  stopped  to  change  horses,  a  customer  for 
an  inside  place  presented  himself;  whereupon  the  driver, 
opening  the  coach-door,  civilly  reminded  Bologna  of  the  condi- 
tions upon  which  he  held  his  seat. 

Bologna  was  fast  asleep  the  first  time  the  man  spoke,  and, 
having  been  roused,  had  the  matter  explained  to  him  once 
more ;  upon  which  he  sat  bolt  upright  in  the  coach,  and  re- 
peating all  the  man  had  said,  inquired  with  great  distinctness 
whether  he  understood  it  to  be  put  to  him,  that  he  must  either 
pay  the  inside  fare,  or  get  out. 


"  That's  it,  sir,"  said  the  coachman. 

"  Very  well,"  said  Bologna,  without  the  slightest  alteration 
of  tone  or  manner ;  "  then  I  shall  do  neither  the  one  nor  the 

The  coachman,  falling  back  a  space  or  two  from  the  door,  and 
recovering  from  a  brief  trance  of  astonishment,  addressed  the 
passengers,  the  would-be  passenger,  the  ostlers  and  stable-boys, 
who  were  standing  around,  upon  the  mean  and  shabby  conduct 
of  the  individual  inside,  upon  this,  the  passengers  remon- 
strated, the  would-be  passenger  stormed,  the  coachman  and 
guard  bellowed,  the  ostlers  hooted,  the  stable-boys  grinned, 
Grimaldi  worked  himself  into  a  state  of  intense  vexation,  and 
the  cause  of  all  the  tumult  sat  quite  immovable. 

"  Now,  I'll  tell  you  what  it  is,"  said  the  coachman,  when  his 
eloquence  was  quite  exhausted,  "one  word's  as  good  as  a 
thousand.  Will  you  get  out  ?" 

"  No,  I  will  not,"  answered  the  sleepy  Harlequin. 

"  Very  well,"  said  the  man ;  "  then  off  goes  my  benjamin, 
and  out  you  come  like  a  sack  of  saw-dust." 

As  the  man  was  of  that  portly  form  and  stout  build  which  is 
the  badge  of  all  his  tribe,  and  as,  stimulated  by  the  approving 
murmurs  of  the  lookers-on,  he  began  suiting  the  action  to  the 
word  without  delay,  Bologna  thought  it  best  to  come  to  terms ; 
so  turned  out  into  the  cold  air,  and  took  his  seat  on  the  coach- 
top,  amidst  several  expressions  of  very  undisguised  contempt 
from  his  fellow-passengers. 

They  performed  the  rest  of  the  journey  in  this  way,  and 
Grimaldi,  alighting  at  the  Angel  at  Islington,  left  Bologna  to 
go  on  to  the  coach-office  in  Holborn,  previously  giving  both 
the  guard  and  coachman  something  beyond  their  usual  fee, 
as  an  intelligible  hint  that  he  was  not  of  the  same  caste  as  his 

Two  or  three  days  afterwards,  meeting  Bologna  in  the  street, 
he  inquired  how  he  had  got  on  at  the  coach-office. 

"  Oh,  very  well,"  said  Bologna  ;  "  they  abused  me  finely." 

"  Just  what  I  expected." 

"  Yes,  and  very  glad  I  was  of  it,  too." 

"  What  do  you  mean  ?" 

"  Saved  my  money,  Joe  ;  that's  what  I  mean.  If  they  had 
been  civil,  of  course  I  must  have  given  something,  not  only  to 
the  coachman,  but  the  guard  besides  ;  but  as  they  were  not 
civil,  of  course  I  did  not  give  either  of  them  a  penny,  and  so 
saved  something  handsome  by  it." 

Bologna  had  many  good  qualities,  and  he  and  Grimaldi 
always  remained  on  good  terms ;  but  as  he  was  not  upon  the 
whole  the  most  entertaining  travelling  companion  that  could  be 
found,  they  never  afterwards  encountered  each  other  in  that 



1817  to  1818. 

Onmaldi  becomes  a  Proprietor  of  Sadler's  Wells.— Newcastle  Salmon,  and  a 
Coal  Mine. — Production  of  Baron  Munchausen. — Anecdote  of  Ellar  the  Har- 
lequin, showing  how  he  iumped  through  the  Moon,  and  put  his  hand  out. — 
Gold  Snuff-box,  Sir  Godfrey  Webster,  and  the  Duke  of  York. 

GRIMALDI  need  not  have  hastened  back  to  town  with  so  much 
expedition,  for  he  was  not  in  request  at  Covent  Garden,  as  it 
turned  out,  until  November,  and  then  only  for  a  night  or  two 
in  "  La  Perouse."  Still,  as  it  was  uncertain  whether  he  might 
not  be  wanted  at  a  few  days'  notice,  he  was  fearful  of  accepting 
any  provincial  engagement  of  more  than  a  week's  duration. 

Sadler's  Wells  was  closed  when  he  reached  London,  after  a 
season  which  had  entailed  a  very  severe  loss  on  the  proprietors ; 
the  balance  against  whom  was  so  heavy,  as  to  cause  it  to  be 
rumoured  that  one  more  such  season  would  throw  a  few  of  the 
shares  into  new  hands,  which  in  reality  shortly  afterwards 
occurred.  In  a  pecuniary  point  of  view,  it  was  an  extremely 
fortunate  thing  for  Grimaloi  that  he  had  remained  absent  from 
Sadler's  Wells  during  the  summer  of  1817,  his  gains  in  the 
provinces  being  considerably  more  than  they  would  have  been 
if  he  had  remained  in  town ;  while,  on  the  other  hand,  the 
degree  of  exertion  he  had  to  encounter  in  the  provinces  was 
greatly  inferior  to  that  which  he  must  have  sustained  at  Sadler's 
Wells.  In  addition  to  the  1423/.  19s.  of  which  an  account  is 
given  in  the  last  chapter,  he  received  for  four  nights  at  Bir- 
mingham 150/.,  for  two  nigbts  at  Leicester  70Z.,  and  for  six  at 
Chester  100Z.,  making  a  clear  gain  of  1743Z.  19s.  for  fifty-six 
nights'  performance  ;  whereas,  if  he  had  remained  at  Sadler's 
Wells,  he  would  have  merely  received  his  thirty  weeks'  salary 
at  12Z.  each,  and  two  benefits  of  150Z.  each,  making  a  total  of 
6601.  for  one  hundred  and  eighty  nights'  performance.  He  was 
therefore  a  gainer  not  only  in  the  saving  of  bodily  exertion,  but 
in  the  sum  of  1073Z.  19s.,  by  his  fortunate  and  unlooked-for 
expulsion  from  Sadler's  Wells. 

In  February,  1818,  Grimaldi  received  several  intimations  that 
if  he  chose  to  make  application  to  the  proprietors  of  Sadler's 
Wells,  he  might  return  almost  upon  his  own  terms ;  but  he 
declined  doing  so,  partly  from  feeling  rather  annoyed  at  the 



manner  in  which  he  had  been  treated,  and  partly  from  dis- 
covering how  well  provincial  excursions  answered  in  a  pecuniary 
point  of  view,  and  how  much  more  conducive  they  were  to  his 
nealth  than  remaining  in  town.  •  Nevertheless,  when  Mrs. 
Hughes,  the  widow  of  his  friend,  waited  upon  him  and  entreated 
him  herself  to  return,  he  scarcely  knew  how  to  refuse,  and  at 
last  told  her  that  if  he  returned  at  all  to  that  establishment,  it 
must  be  as  a  part  proprietor.  He  said  this,  thinking  that  it 
would  either  release  him  from  any  further  requests  to  go  back 
to  Sadler's  Wells,  or  enable  him  to  share  in  the  profits  which 
had  been  for  many  years  accruing  to  the  proprietors.  But  in 
this  idea,  as  in  many_  others,  he  was  totally  mistaken.  After 
some  little  preliminaries,  in  the  shape  of  meetings,  discussions, 
waiving  of  objections,  &c.,  the  proposal  was  accepted,  and  he 
became  the  purchaser  of  a  certain  number  of  shares  in  Sadler's 
Wells  from  Mrs.  Hughes  herself.*  This  being  arranged,  Gri- 
maldi  accepted  an  engagement  for  *he  ensuing  season  upon  his 
old  terms,  merely  bargaining  that  he  should  be  permitted  to 
leave  town  about  the  end  of  July,  for  six  weeks  in  each  year,  to 
fulfil  provincial  engagements. 

The  Covent  Garden  season  terminated  on  the  17th  of  July, 
and  his  benefit  at  Sadler's  Wells,  which  occurred  two  nights 
afterwards,  being  over,  (the  receipts  were  243Z.  195.,)  he  left 
town  to  fulfil  the  engagements  he  had  entered  into  with  country 
managers.  He  went  first  to  Liverpool,  where  he  acted  from  the 
27th  July  until  the  19th  of  August :  his  profits  amounted  to 
327Z.,  being  two  pounds  and  a  few  shillings  more  than  the  result 
of  his  previous  visit.  Thence  he  went  to  Lancaster,  the  theatre 
of  which  town,  like  the  one  at  Berwick,  he  found  up  a  stable- 
yard,  but  very  neat  and  commodious.  Here  he  played  two 
nights,  for  which  he  received  llll.  16s.  From  this  town  he 
went  to  Newcastle-upon-Tyne,  where  he  performed  five  nights, 
realizing  243£.  14s.  as  his  share  of  the  profits. 

During  his  stay  at  Newcastle,  he  recollected  that  the  best 
pickled  salmon  sold  in  London  was  called  by  that  name,  and 
came  from  thence,  and  he  resolved  to  have  a  feast  of  it,  naturally 
concluding  that  he  should  procure  it  in  high  perfection  in  the 
place  whence  it  was  brought  for  sale.  Accordingly,  one  evening 

*  Joe's  desire  was  to  become  a  proprietor,  and  an  eighth  share,  at  his  request, 
was  disposed  oi  to  him  by  his  brother-in-law,  Mr.  Hughes ;  nor  was  the  purchase- 
money  demanded  at  the  time  of  sale :  the  object  was,  to  invest  Grimaldi  with  an 
interest  in  the  theatre  and  to  attach  him  to  it  more  permanently :  but  so  far 
from  any  loss  having  arisen,  we  find  that  on  reference  to  the  treasurer's  books, 
the  season  of  1818  and  the  two  following  were  profitable,  and  Joe  participated  in 
the  benefits  arising  therefrom.  The  season  of  1821  was  attended  by  loss ;  but 
even  then  the  deficit  required  from  Grimaldi,  by  reason  of  his  eighth  share,  was 
little  more  than  ninety  pounds ;  and  in  that  instance  Joe  experienced  the  kind- 
ness of  the  family  to  which  his  early  marriage  had  attached  him.  The  loss 
Deferred  to  was  rendered  easy  to  him  in  its  liquidation.  Mr.  Hughes's  subsequent 
JOMCS,  as  connected  with  Sadler's  Wells  Theatre,  exceeded  5000/. 


he  ordered  some  to  be  got  ready  for  supper  upon  Ms  return  from 
the  theatre ;  which  the  waiter  of  the  hotel  he  was  staying  at 
promised  should  be  done,  but  in  so  curious  a  manner  that  he 
could  not  help  fancying  he  did  not  understand  his  meaning.  He 
therefore  asked  him  if  he  had  heard  what  he  said. 

"  Oh  dear,  yes,  sir  !"  was  the  reply :  "  I'll  take  care  it  shall 
be  ready,  sir." 

This  appeared  to  settle  the  point,  and  as  soon  as  the  play  was 
over,  he  returned  to  the  inn,  anticipating  how  much  better  the 
salmon  would  be  than  the  London  pickle.  The  cloth  was  duly 
spread,  and  a  covered  dish  placed  before  him. 

"  Supper,  sir — quite  ready,  sir,"  said  the  waiter,  whisking 
away  the  cover,  and  presenting  to  his  sight  a  mutton  cutlet. 
"  You'll  find  this  excellent,  sir." 

"  No  doubt ;  but  I  ordered  pickled  salmon  !" 

"  I  beg  your  pardon,  sir, — did  you,  sir  ?"  (with  a  slight  appear- 
ance of  confusion.) 

"  Did  I !  Yes,  to  be  sure  I  did.  Do  you  mean  to  say  you  do 
not  recollect  it  ?" 

"  I  may  have  forgotten  it,  sir ;  I  suppose  I  have  forgotten  it, 

"  Well,  it  does  not  matter  much ;  I  can  make  a  supper  of 
this.  But  don't  forget  to  let  me  have  some  pickled  salmon  to- 
morrow evening." 

"  Certainly  not,  sir,"  was  the  waiter's  answer ;  and  so  the 
matter  ended  for  that  night. 

On  the  following  evening,  Grimaldi  invited  the  manager,  at 
the  close  of  the  performances,  to  go  home  and  sup  with  him, 
which  he  willingly  did.  As  on  the  preceding  evening,  the  meal 
was  prepared  and  awaiting  their  arrival.  Down  they  sat,  and 
upon  the  removal  of  the  cover,  a  rump-steak  presented  itself. 
A  good  deal  surprised,  he  said  to  the  waiter, 

"  What's  this  !  have  you  forgotten  the  pickled  salmon  again?" 

"  Why,  really,  sir,  dear  me  !"  hesitated  the  man, — "  I  believe 
I  have — I  really  fancied  you  said  you  would  have  beef  to-night, 
sir.  To-morrow  night,  sir,  I'll  take  care  that  you  have  some." 

"  Now,  mind  that  you  do  remember  it,  for  to-morrow  is  the 
last  day  I  shall  be  here,  and  I  have  a  particular  wish  to  taste 
some  before  I  leave  the  town." 

"Depend  upon  me,  sir, — you  shall  certainly  have  some  to- 
morrow, sir,"  said  the  waiter.  The  manager  preferred  meat,  so 
it  was  no  great  matter,  and  they  took  their  hot  supper  very 

There  was  a  crowded  audience  next  night,  which  was 
Grimaldi's  benefit  and  the  last  of  his  performance.  He  played 
Acres  and  Clown,  received  the  cash,  bade  farewell  to  the  manager, 
and  hurried  to  his  inn,  greatly  fatigued  by  his  performance,  and 
looking  forward  with  much  pleasure  to  the  pickled  salmon. 

"  All  right  to-night,  waiter  ?"  he  inquired. 

p  a 


"All  right  to-night,  sir,"  said  the  waiter,  rubbing  his  hands. 
"  Supper  is  quite  ready,  sir." 

"  Good !  Let  me  have  my  bill  to-night,  because  I  start  early 
in  the  morning." 

Grimaldi  turned  to  the  supper-table :  there  was  a  dish,  with 
a  cover ;  the  waiter  removed  it  with  a  nourish,  and  presented  to 
his  astonished  eyes — not  the  long-expected  pickled  salmon,  but 
a  veal-cutlet.  These  repeated  disappointments  were  rather  too 
much,  so  he  pulled  the  bell  with  great  vehemence  and  called  for 
the  landlord. 

The  landlord  came,  and  Grimaldi  having  stated  his  grievance, 
he  appeared  to  understand  as  little  about  the  matter  as  his 
waiter  ;  but  at  length,  after  many  explanations,  Grimaldi 
learned  to  his  great  surprise,  that  pickled  salmon  was  an  article 
unknown  in  Newcastle,  all  Newcastle  pickled  salmon  being 
sent  to  London  for  sale.  The  brilliant  waiter  not  having  the 
remotest  conception  of  what  was  wanted,  and  determined  not  to 
confess  his  ignorance,  had  resolved  to  try  all  the  dishes  in  the 
most  general  request  until  he  came  to  the  right  one. 

Grimaldi  saw  a  coal  mine  on  this  expedition,  his  curiosity 
having  been  roused  by  the  manager's  glowing  description.  We 
should  rather  say  that  he  went  down  into  one,  for  his  survey 
was  brief  enough.  He  descended  some  two  or  three  hundreu 
feet  in  a  basket,  and  was  met  at  the  bottom  of  the  shaft  by  a 
guide,  who  had  not  conducted  him  far,  when  a  piece  of  coal, 
weighing  about  three  tons,  fell  with  a  loud  noise  upon  a  spot 
over  which  they  had  just  passed. 

"Hollo!"  exclaimed  Grimaldi,  greatly  terrified.  "What's 

"  Hech !"  said  the  guide,  "  it's  only  a  wee  bit  of  cool  fallen 
doon :  we  ha'e  that  twa  or  three  times  a  day." 

"  Have  you  ?"  replied  Grimaldi,  running  back  to  the  shaft. 
"  Then  I'll  thank  you  to  ring  for  my  basket,  or  call  out  for  it, 
for  I'll  stop  here  no  longer." 

The  basket  was  lowered,  and  he  ascended  to  the  light  without 
delay,  having  no  wish  whatever  to  take  his  chance  again  among 
the  "  wee  bits  of  cool." 

While  upon  this  last  expedition,  he  received  a  letter  from  Mr. 
Harris,  in  which  that  gentleman  informed  him  that  it  would  be 
necessary  for  hirn  to  be  in  London  by  the  7th  of  September,  to 
attend  the  opening  of  Covent  Garden  ;  in  consequence  of  which 
he  was  obliged  to  forego  his  Edinburgh  engagement  with  Mr. 
Murray,  which  annoyed  him  greatly,  for  he  had  calculated 
upon  clearing  pretty  nigh  five  hundred  pounds  by  that  portion 
01  his  trip ;  besides,  being  at  Newcastle,  he  was  within  one 
day's  journey  of  Edinburgh.  However,  he  was  obliged  to 
attend  to  the  summons,  and  so  returned  to  London,  where  a  few 
days  afterwards  he  encountered  Mr.  Harris,  with  whom  he  had 
the  following  vexatious  colloquy. 


"  Ah,  Joe !"  he  exclaimed,  with  evident  surprise,  "  why,  I  did 
not  expect  to  see  you  for  three  weeks  to  come  !" 

"  You  did  not,  sir !"  exclaimed  Grimaldi,  with  at  least  aa 
equal  degree  of  astonishment. 

"  Certainly  not ;  I  thought  you  were  going  into  Scotland." 

"  So  I  was ;  but  I  received  a  letter  from  you,  recalling  me  to 
town  by  to-day ;  which  summons  I  have  obeyed,  by  sacrificing 
my  Eoinburgh  excursion,  and  with  it  about  five  hundred 

"  Ah  !"  said  Mr.  Harris,  "  I  see  now  how  all  this  is.  I  sup« 
pose  you  left  Newcastle  the  same  day  you  received  my  letter  ?" 

"  I  did,  sir." 

"That  was   unfortunate;   for   I   changed  my  mind   after 

thing  to  do ; — we'll  try  '  Mother  Goose '  for  a  night  or  two  next 

To  this  obliging  promise  he  made  no  reply,  not  deriving  the 
smallest  degree  of  comfort  from  it.  Mr.  Harris,  observing  that 
his  offer  had  failed  in  producing  the  intended  effect,  added, 
"And  as  to  the  loss  of  your  Edinburgh  engagement,  that  I 
must  endeavour  to  make  up  to  you  in  some  way  or  other  at  a 
future  time." 

He  thanked  him  for  this  kindness,  and  Mr.  Harris  did  not 
forget  his  promise. 

The  result  of  Grimaldi's  first  season's  proprietorship  was  far 
from  propitious.  At  first  all  went  on  very  well ;  but  after  he 
had  left  (as  previously  stipulated)  in  July,  the  houses  fell  to 
nothing,  and  when  he  arrived  in  town  again  in  September,  he 
was  informed  that  there  would  be  a  clear  loss  instead  of  any 
profit.  This  both  surprised  and  vexed  him ;  for  Sadler's  Wells 
had  always  been  considered  a  very  good  property,  and  he  had 
fully  expected  that  he  should,  merely  upon  becoming  a  pro- 
prietor, have  to  receive  a  sum  of  money  yearly,  in  addition  to 
his  regular  salary. 

The  first  proprietors'  meeting  which  he  attended,  occurred  a 
few  days  after  the  close  of  the  season ;  and  then  all  the  books 
and  papers  connected  with  the  business  of  the  theatre  being 
produced,  it  was  found  that  a  heavy  loss  was  really  attendant 
upon  the  year's  campaign. 

"  And  pray  what  may  be  the  amount  ?"  he  inquired,  rather 
dolefully, — for  he  now  began  to  repent  of  his  purchase,  and  to 
fancy  that  he  saw  all  his  recently  acquired  wealth  fading  away. 

Mr.  Richard  Hughes  shook  his  head  when  he  heard  his  ques- 
tion, and  said,  "  Ah,  Joe,  the  k>ss  is  3331.  13*." 

"Oh,  come!"  cried  Grimaldi,  "it's  not  so  bad  as  I  thought, 
— 3331.  13«.  is  not  so  much  among  six  persons !"  which  was  the 
number  of  proprietors  at  that  time. 


"Joe,"  said  Mr.  Hughes,  gravely,  "is  this  the  first  meeting 
you  have  attended  ?" 


"Ah,  then  I  do  not  wonder  you  have  misunderstood  me. 
"What  I  meant  was,  that  the  loss  to  each  person  is  333/.  13s.,  the 
gross  loss  heing  six  times  that  sum." 

This  communication  was  a  very  unexpected  hlow  to  all  his 
hopes  ;  hut  as  there  was  nothing  hetter  to  be  done,  he  paid  his 
share  of  the  money  at  once  with  as  good  a  grace  as  he  could 
assume,  having  thus  gratified  his  wish  to  hecome  a  proprietor 
of  Sadler's  Wells  hy  the  expenditure,  first,  of  a  large  sum  of 
money  for  his  shares,  and  secondly,  of  another  sum  of  upwards 
of  330£  at  the  end  of  the  first  season 

Grimaldi  anticipated  other  heavy  demands  upon  his  pro- 
vincial gains  of  1817  and  1818,  and  bitterly  regretted  having 
connected  himself  with  the  establishment  in  any  other  way 
than  as  a  salaried  actor. 

The  Christmas  pantomime  at  Co  vent  Garden  "was  entitled 
*'  Baron  Munchausen,"  *  and  proved  as  successful  as  its  prede- 
cessors had  done  for  some  years.  ^  During  its  run,  a  circum- 
stance occurred  worthy  of  mention,  as  an  instance  of  the 
brutality  of  a  man  belonging  to  the  theatre. 

One  night,  a  fellow  engaged  as  a  carpenter,  and  whose  busi- 
ness it  likewise  was  to  assist  in  holding  a  carpet  in  which  the 
pantomime  characters  are  caught  when  they  jump  through  the 
scenes,  went  to  Ellar,  who  was  the  Harlequin,  and  holding  up 
the  carpet,  said  that  it  was  very  dry,  thereby  intimating  in  the 
cant  phrase  that  he  required  something  to  drink.  Ellar,  from 
some  cause  or  other,  either  because  he  had  already  fee'd  the  men 
liberally,  or  was  engaged  at  the  moment  in  conversation,  re- 
turned some  slight  answer,  unaccompanied  by  the  required 
gratuity,  and  the  fellow  went  away  grumbling.  On  the  follow- 
ing evening,  Ellar  was  informed  that  the  man  had  been  heard 
to  talk  about  being  revenged  upon  him  :  he  only  laughed  at  the 
threat,  however,  and  all  went  on  as  usual  until  the  third  night 
afterwards,  when,  as  he  and  Grimaldi  were  on  the  stage 
together,  in  the  scene  where  he  used  to  jump  through  the 
"moon,"  and  after  the  former  had  given  the  cue  for  him  to 
take  the  leap,  he  was  surprised  to  observe  that  he  hesitated,  and 
still  more  so  when,  drawing  close  to  him,  he  said,  in  a  whisper, 
"  I  am  afraid  they  don't  mean  to  catch  me.  I  have  knocked 
three  times  against  the  scene,  and  asked  if  they  were  ready ;  but 
nobody  has  said  a  word  in  reply." 

" It's  impossible,"  whispered  Grimaldi  :  "I  don't  believe 
there  is  a  man  in  the  theatre  who  would  dream  of  such  a  thing. 
Jump,  man,  jump." 

*  "  Baron  Munchausen ;  or,  the  Fountain  of  Love,"  first  performed  on  Decem- 
ber 26,  1818.  Harlequin,  Mr.  Ellar;  Clown,  Mr.  Grimaldi;  Pantaloon.  Mr. 
Norman :  Columbine,  Miss  F.  Dennett. 


Ellar  still  paused,  and  Grimaldi  fancying  that  symptoms  of 
impatience  were  beginning  to  appear  among  the  audience,  told 
him  so,  and  again  urged  him  not  to  stop  the  business  of  the 
scene,  but  to  jump  at  once. 

"Well,  well,"  cried  Ellar,  "here  goes! — but  Heaven  knows 
how  it  will  end!"  .And  in  a  complete  state  of  uncertainty 
whether  any  men  were  there  to  catch  him,  or  he  was  left  to 
break  his  neck,  he  went  through  the  scene.  His  fears  were  not 
without  good  ground ;  for  the  fellows  whose  business  it  was  to 
hold  the  carpet  were  holding  it,  as  they  well  knew,  in  a  position 
where  he  could  never  reach  it,  and  down  he  fell.  Suspecting 
his  danger  while  in  the  very  act  of  going  through  the  panel,  he 
endeavoured  to  save  his  head  by  sacrificing  a  hand.  In  this  he 
fortunately  succeeded,  as  he  sustained  no  other  injury  than 
breaking  the  hand  upon  which  he  fell.  The  accident  occasioned 
him  great  pain  and  inconvenience,  but  he  insisted  on  going 
through  the  part,  and  the  audience  were  quite  ignorant  of  the 

The  circumstance  was  not  long  in  reaching  the  ears  of  Mr. 
Harris  and  Mr.  Pawcett,  who  were  made  acquainted  not  only 
with  Ellar's  accident,  but  with  the  man's  threat,  and  the  occa- 
sion which  had  given  rise  to  it.  Eawcett  immediately  caused 
all  the  carpenters  to  assemble  on  the  stage,  and  told  them  that  if 
Mr.  Ellar  would  undertake  to  say  he  believed  the  accident  had 
been  brought  about  wilfully,  they  should  every  one  be  dis- 
charged on  the  spot.  Ellar  being  sent  for,  and  informed  that 
this  was  the  proprietor's  deliberate  intention,  replied  without 
hesitation,  that  he  could  not  believe  it  was  intentional,  and 
whispered  to  Grimaldi  as  he  left  the  house,  that  the  fellow  had 
got  a  wife  and  half-a-dozen  children  dependent  upon  him. 

This  praiseworthy  resolution,  which  prevented  several  men 
from  being  thrown  out  of  employment,  was  rendered  the  more 
praiseworthy  by  Ellar's  having  no  earthly  doubt  that  the 
mistake  was  intentional,  and  by  his  knowing  perfectly  well 
that  if  he  had  fallen  on  his  head  in  lieu  of  his  hand,  he  would 
most  probably  have  been  killed  on  the  spot. 

While  upon  the  subject  of  stage  accidents,  we  may  remark, 
that  very  few  of  these  mischances  befel  Grimaldi,  considering 
the  risks  to  which  a  pantomime  actor  is  exposed,  and  the 
serious  injuries  he  is  constantly  encountering.  The  hazards 
were  not  so  great  in  Grimaldi' s  case  as  they  would  have  been  to 
any  other  man  similarly  situated,  inasmuch  as  his  clown  was  a 
very  quiet  personage,  so  far  as  the  use  or  abuse  of  his  limbs  was 
concerned,  and  by  no  means  addicted  to  those  violent  contor- 
tions of  body,  which  are  painful  alike  to  actor  and  spectator. 
His  clown  was  an  embodied  conception  of  his  own,  whose 
tumour  was  in  his  looks,  and  not  in  his  tumbles,  and  who 
excited  the  laughter  of  an  audience  while  standing  upon  his 
heels,  and  not  upon  his  head.  If  the  present  race  of  clowns, 


and  the  rising  generation  of  that  honourable  fraternity,  would 
endeavour  to  imitate  him  in  this  respect,  they  would  be  more  at 
ease  themselves,  and  place  their  audiences  more  at  ease  also. 

While  playing  in  "Baron  Munchausen"  at  Covent  Garden, 
one  evening  very  shortly  after  Ellar's  accident,  he  observed  his 
Royal  Highness  the  Duke  of  York,  accompanied  by  Sir  Godfrey 
"Webster  and  another  gentleman,  sitting  in  his  Royal  High- 
ness's  private  box,  and  laughing  very  heartily  at  the  piece. 
Upon  his  coming  off  the  stage  about  the  middle  of  the  panto- 
mime, he  found  Sir  Godfrey  waiting  for  him. 

"  Hard  work,  Grimaldi  !" 

"Hard  and  hot,  Sir  Godfrey !" 

"  Have  a  pinch  of  snuff,  Grimaldi,"  said  Sir  Godfrey :  "  it 
will  refresh  you,"  With  this  he  produced  from  behind  him, 
where  he  had  been  holding  it,  the  largest  snuff-box  Grimaldi 
had  ever  beheld.  The  sight  of  it  amused  him  much.  Sir 
Godfrey  laughed  and  said,  "  Take  it  to  that  gentleman," 
pointing  to  the  pantaloon,  who  was  on  the  stage,  "and  see  if 
he  would  like  a  pinch." 

Grimaldi  willingly  complied,  and  having  shortly  afterwards 
to  enact  a  foppish  scene,  swaggered  about  the  stage,  ostenta- 
tiously displaying  this  huge  box,  which  from  its  enormous  size 
really  looked  like  a  caricature  made  expressly  for  the  purpose, 
and  offered  a  pinch  to  the  pantaloon  with  all  that  affectation  of 
politeness  in  which  he  was  so  ludicrous.  The  audience  laughed 
at  its  gigantic  size,  and  the  pantaloon,  looking  suspiciously  at 
him,  demanded, 

"  Where  did  you  get  this  box  r" 

To  this,  affecting  modest  reserve  and  diffidence,  he  made  no 
answer,  but  turned  away  his  head. 

"  You've  stolen  it !"  continued  Pantaloon. 

This  the  injured  Clown  strongly  denied  upon  his  honour,  with 
many  bows  and  slides,  and  averred  it  was  a  gift. 

"  Given  to  you  !"  cried  the  Pantaloon :  "  and  pray,  who  gave 
it  to  you  ?" 

In  answer  to  this,  he  pointed  significantly  to  the  box  whither 
Sir  Godfrey  had  retired,  and  the  merriment  which  this  occa- 
sioned was  great  indeed.  The  Duke,  to  whom,  as  he  discovered 
afterwards,  the  box  belonged,  was  convulsed  with  laughter ;  nor 
were  the  gentlemen  with  him  less  merry,  while  the  audience, 
either  suspecting  that  some  joke  was  afloat,  or  being  amused  at 
the  scene,  joined  in  the  hearty  laughter  emanating  from  the 
royal  box. 

"  Where  are  you  going  to  take  the  box  ?"  asked  Pantaloon,  as 
he  turned  to  go  off. 

"Where  it  has  often  been  before,"  cried  Grimaldi,  pointing 
upwards :  "  to  my  uncle's  !"  And  so  saying,  he  ran  off  the  stage 
amid  a  fresh  burst  of  merriment. 

Sir  Godfrey  was  with  him  in  two  minutes.    Whether  he 


thought  the  box  was  really  in  danger  of  being  so  disposed  of,  is 
uncertain,  but  he  popped  round  behind  the  scenes  as  quickly  as 

"Capital,  Grimaldi!"  he  cried,  still  laughing;  "you  have 
won  me  a  wager — so  ought  to  go  snacks  in  it ;"  and  he  slipped 
five  guineas  into  his  hand. 

"So,  so,"  said  the  Duke  of  York,  who,  unperceived  by 
Grimaldi,  had  followed  his  friend ;  "  this  is  the  way  stakes  are 
divided,  eh? — I'll  tell  you  what,  Sir  Godfrey,  although  Mr. 
Grimaldi  is  not  a  porter,  I  entertain  no  doubt  that  he  would 
carry  your  box  for  you  every  evening  upon  such  terms  as 

Having  vented  this  joke,  his  Eoyal  Highness  returned  to  his 
box.  As  he  was  not  often  behind  the  scenes  at  the  theatre,  this 
was,  with  one  exception,  the  only  time  Grimaldi  encountered 



1818  to  1823. 

Profit  and  Loss. — Appearance  of  his  Son  at  Covent  Garden. — His  last  engage- 
ment at  Sadler's  Wells. — Accommodation  of  the  Giants  in  the  Dublin  Pavi- 
lion.— Alarming  state  of  his  health. — His  engagement  at  the  Coburg. — The 
liberality  of  Mr.  Harris. — Eapid  decay  of  Grimaldi's  constitution,  his  great 
sufferings,  and  last  performance  at  Covent  Garden. — He  visits  Cheltenham 
and  Birmingham  with  great  success. — Colonel  Berkeley,  Mr.  Charles  Kemble, 
and  Mr.  Bunn. 

BY  his  six  weeks'  excursion  in  1818,  Grinialdi  cleared  682?.  12*.  • 
but  the^  disastrous  result  of  the  Sadler's  "Wells  season,  and  th" 
expenditure  of  ready  money  in  the  purchase  of  his  shares,  swal- 
lowed up  nearly  the  whole  of  his  gains  in  the  provinces — so  that 
notwithstanding  his  great  success  and  the  enormous  sums  he 
had  so  recently  acquired,  the  autumn  of  1818  found  him  still 
poor,  and  entirely  dependent  on  his  salary  for  support.  He 
looked  forward,  however,  to  the  next  season  at  Sadler's  Wells, 
in  the  hope  that  some  success  might  repay  a  portion  of  the  money 
he  had  already  lost. 
The  opening  of  Sadler's  Wells*  was  attended  by  many 

*  Sadler's  Wells  opened  on  Easter  Monday,  April  12, 1819,  with  a  pantomime, 
the  scenes  selected  from  successful  harlequinades  at  that  theatre,  commencing 
with  the  opening  from  that  of  the  "  Talking  Bird ;"  Clown,  Mr.  Grimaldi,  with  a 
new  song,  "  HOT  CODLINS,''  composed  by  Mr.  Whitaker;  Columbine,  Miss 
Tree,  from  the  Theatre  Eoyal,  Drury  Lane.  On  April  19,  the  "  Great  Devil" 
was  revived ;  Nicola,  Mr.  Grimaldi ;  the  Lady  Matilda,  Miss  Tree :  and  on  Whit 
Monday,  May  31,  the  new  harlequinade,  called  "  The  Fates,  or  Harlequin's  Holi- 
day," was  produced  under  Grimaldi's  immediate  direction.  He  played  the 
Clown ;  Bologna,  as  Harlequin,  made  his  first  appearance  that  evening,  after  a 
ten  years'  absence ;  Barnes,  Pantaloon ;  the  ever  juvenile  Widdicomb  played  the 
West  Indian;  and  Columbine,  Miss  Tree.  On  the  same  night,  at  Covent 
Garden,  "Mother  Goose"  was  revived,  with  additional  scenes  from  "  Harlequin 
Munchausen,"  "  Gulliver,"  and  "  Whittington."  Ellar  was  the  Harlequin,  and 
Grimaldi  had  to  play  at  both  theatres  in  the  two  pieces.  The  pantomime  was 
played  at  Covent  Garden  on  July  19th,  the  last  night  of  the  season,  by  the  ex- 
press desire  of  the  Duke  and  Duchess  of  Kent.  The  pantomime  of  "  Harle- 
quin's Holiday"  continued  uninterruptedly  till  August  9th,  when  it  was  an- 
nounced it  would  be  withdrawn  for  a  short  tune,  to  re-embellish  the  scenery,  ma- 
chinery, and  dresses,  and  would  then  be  re-produced  with  additional  scenes.  On 
August  2,  Grimaldi  sustained  Friday  in  the  burletta  of  the  "  Bold  Buccaneers," 
which  was  successfully  repeated  during  the  season.  The  Duke  and  Duchess, 
pleased  with  Grimaldi's  performance  at  Covent  Garden,  visited  Sadler's  Wells, 
on  August  27th.  On  September  13th,  Grimaldi  played  Scaramouch,  in  "  Don 
Juan ;"  Donna  Anna,  Miss  Tree ;  when  the  bills  announced  a  change  of  entertain- 
ments on  the  Monday  following,  September  20th,  for  the  benefit  of  Mr,  Grimaldi. 


difficulties  and  embarrassments.  Only  ten  days  before  the 
commencement  of  the  season,  Mr.  Charles  Dibdin  suddenly 
relinquished  his  post  of  acting  stage-manager,  and  was  with 
great  difficulty  prevailed  upon  to  make  the  necessary  arrange- 
ments for  the  first  week.  As  he  left  the  theatre  at  Whitsuntide, 
and  nobody  could  be  found  to  supply  his  place,  Grimaldi  was 
obliged  to  fill  it  himself,  and  to  relinquish,  though  with  great 
unwillingness,  his  summer  excursion,  with  all  its  advantages. 
He  produced  a  new  pantomime  of  his  own  invention,  called 
"  The  Fates,"  which  ran  the  whole  of  the  season,  and  drew  very 
good  houses.  The  result  was,  that  when  the  books  were  made 
up  at  the  end  of  the  season,  each  of  the  proprietors  had  some- 
thing to  receive  ;  which  was  a  very  agreeable  improvement  on 
the  untoward  prospects  with  which  the  preceding  year  had 

Gradually,  but  surely,  during  the  whole  of  this  year  Grimaldi 
felt  his  health  sinking,  and  heavy  and  painful  infirmities  creep- 
ing upon  him.  He  learnt,  when  it  was  too  late,  that  if  at  this 
time  he  had  retired  from  the  profession,  and  devoted  one  or  two 
years  to  relaxation  and  quiet,  his  constitution  would  in  all  pro- 
bability have  rallied,  and  he  would  have  been  enabled  to  resume 
his  usual  occupations,  with  every  hope  of  being  long  able  to 
perform  them,  instead  of  being  compelled,  as  he  eventually  was, 
to  quit  the  stage  when  he  was  little  more  than  forty  years  old. 

The  Christmas  pantomime  at  Covent  Garden  was  "Harlequin 
Don  Quixote,"  which  was  not  quite  so  successful  as  the  panto- 
mimes at  that  house  usually  had  been,  although  Grimaldi 

flayed  Sancho  Panza  in  the  opening,  and  afterwards  Clown. 
ts  success  was  so  equivocal,  that  another  pantomime,  called 
"  Harlequin  and  Cinderella,"  was  produced  in  April  ;  but  it  had 
no  greater  success  that  its  predecessor,  for  it  went  off  but  indif- 
ferently, and  did  not  run  long.  ^  Having  a  few  nights  to  spare 
in  March,  he  accepted  a  theatrical  invitation  from  Lynn  in 
Norfolk,  where  he  acted  four  nights  and  received  one  hundred 
and  sixty  pounds. 

At  Saaler's  Wells  a  new  system  had  been  acted  upon.  The 
authorities  being  greatly  puzzled  in  the  choice  of  a  stage- 
manager,  and  having  received  an  offer  from  Mr.  Howard  Payne 
to  take  the  theatre  for  one  season  at  a  certain  rental,  agreed  to 
let  it.  Mr.  Howard  Payne  commenced  his  campaign  at  Easter,* 
2nd  a  most  unprofitable  one  it  proved,  for  he  lost  a  considerable 

*  Sadler's  Wells  opened  under  the  management  of  Mr.  Howard  Payne  on 
Easter  Monday,  April  3,  1820,  with  the  best  playing  company  ever  assembled 
within  its  walls.  The  stage  business  was  arranged  by  Grimaldi;  and  in  the  first 
piece,  the  pantomime  of  "  Goody  Two  Shoes,"  Bologna  played  Harlequin  ; 
Grimaldi,  Clown  ;  Barnes,  Pantaloon  ;  Farmer,  with  a  song,  Mr.  Wood,  the 
husltand  of  Miss  Paton,  afterwards  Lady  Lennox;  Columbine,  Miss  Yallancey. 
On  Whit  Monday,  May  22,  was  produced  a  splendid  Persian  Pantomime,  entitled 
"  The  Yellow  Pwarf  ;  or,  Harlequin  King  of  the  Golden  Mines  ;"  Harlequin, 


sum  of  money,  as  did  the  proprietors  also,  and  Grimaldi  not 
unnaturally  began  to  be  weary  of  the  speculation.  As  both  his 
benefits,  however,  were  bumpers,  he  left  the  theatre  in  good 
spirits  in  the  month  of  September,*  to  fulfil  an  engagement  at 
Dublin,  little  dreaming  at  the  time,  that  with  the  exception  of 
Ms  farewell  night,  he  was  destined  never  again  to  act  upon  the 
Sadler's  Wells  stage. 

Grimaldi's  travelling  companions  were  Ellar  and  his  son,  all 
three  being  engaged  by  Mr.  Harris  to  act  at  his  theatre  in 
Dublin,  and  receiving  permission  to  absent  themselves  from 
Covent  Garden  for  that  express  purpose.  Since  his  last  journey 
to  the  Irish  capital  in  1805,  roads  and  coaches  had  improved, 
and  steam-packets  had  supplied  the  place  of  the  old  sailiiig- 
boats,  so  that  they  reached  their  destination  in  half  the  time 
which  the  same  journey  had  occupied  before. 

The  theatre  in  which  they  were  to  act  was  called  the  Pavilion, 
and  had  formerly  been  an  assembly-room.  It  was  perfectly 
round,  and  very  ill  adapted  for  dramatic  representations ;  the 
stage  room,  too,  was  so  inconvenient,  and  they  were  so  pressed 
for  want  of  space,  that  when  "  Harlequin  Gulliver"  was  in  pre- 
paration, they  were  at  a  loss  where  to  put  the  Brobdignagians. 
These  figures  were  so  very  cumbersome  and  so  much  in  the  way, 
that  the  men  who  sustained  the  parts  were  at  last  obliged  to  be 
dressed  and  put  away  in  an  obscure  corner  before  the  curtain 
was  raised,  whence  they  were  brought  forward  when  wanted 

Mr.  Bologna;  Columbine,  Miss  Vallancey ;  Pantaloon,  Mr.  Barnes;  Grim,  after- 
wards  Clown,  with  a  song,  "  London  Cheats,  or  there  never  was  such  Times," 
by  Grimaldi:  the  Yellow  Dwarf,  afterwards  Yellow  Harlequin,  Mr.  Guerint; 
Ubrino,  his  attendant  Genie,  afterwards  Yellow  Clown,  Mr.  Grimaldi,  Junior, 
his  first  appearance  this  season.  On  July  3,  was  revived  the  pantomime  of  "  Don 
Juan;"  Don  Juan,  Mr.  Bologna;  Scaramouch,  Mr.  Grimaldi,  with  the  song  of 
"  Tippitywitchet ;"  Donna  Anna,  Miss  Vallancey.  Grimaldi's  benefit,  Thursday, 
July  27th,  presented  a  crowded  house :  the  entertainments  were,  "  Kaloc ;  or,  the 
Slave  Pirate;"  Kaloc,  by  Mr.  Grimaldi;  "  Ko  and  Zoa,"  in  which  Bologna 
played  Ko,  Grimaldi,  Ravin;  and  the  "Yellow  Dwarf;"  and  the  applause  with 
which  they  were  received  induced  a  repetition  on  the  two  following  nights. 
"Raymond  and  Agnes"  was  revived  on  August  7,  when  Grimaldi  played 
Robert  the  Bandit. 

*  On  Howard  Payne's  night,  October  5th,  after  T.  Dibdin's  melodrama  of 
"  Douglas,"  followed  a  harlequinade,  compiled  by  Grimaldi  from  the  best  scenes 
of  the  last  popular  pantomimes,  entitled  "  Scraps ;  or,  Fun  for  the  Gallery." 
Bologna,  Guerint,  Grimaldi,  Young  Grimaldi,  Barnes,  and  Miss  Vallancey  per- 
formed  the  parts ;  and  the  bills  stated  that,  on  this  occasion,  Mr.  Grimaldi  would 
appear  for  the  last  time  this  season,  and  introduce  one  of  his  most  celebrated 
comic  songs,  and  with  Mr.  Bologna  a  grotesque  dance,  the  Pas-de-Deux  from 
"  Mother  Goose."  C.  M.  Westmacott,  who  was  scene-painter  and  composer  of 
the  pantomimes  this  season  at  Sadler's  "Wells,  had  also  a  benefit  on  October  llth, 
the  bills  for  which  invitingly  asked  the  reader,  "Will  you  come  for  nothing?" 
the  prices  of  admission  were  as  usual ;  but  to  every  person  in  the  boxes  and  pit 
was  presented  an  excellent  portrait  of  Grimaldi,  engraved  after  Wageman's 
drawing,  by  Blood;  and  to  every  person  in  the  gallery  a  book  of  the  songs  of 
the  evening. 


upon  the  stage,  and  into  which  they  were  obliged  to  retreat 
wnen  they  had  no  more  to  do,  and  to  remain  there  as  quietly  as 
they  could,  until  the  pantomime  was  over,  there  being  actually 
no  room  to  get  them  out  of  their  cases.  The  dresses  and 
makings-up  were  very  cumbrous  and  inconvenient ;  but  as  no 
other  mode  of  proceeding  presented  itself,  the  unfortunate 
giants  were  obliged  to  make  the  best  of  a  bad  bargain,  and  to 
remain  in  a  great  state  of  perspiration  and  fatigue  until  they 
could  be  reduced  to  the  level  of  ordinary  men.  Grimaldi  pitied 
the  poor  fellows  so  much,  that  after  the  first  night's  performance 
was  over,  he  thought  right  to  represent  to  them  that  no  relief 
could  be  afforded,  and  to  ask  whether  they  could  make  up  their 
minds  to  endure  so  much  labour  for  the  future. 

"  Well,  then,"  said  the  spokesman  of  the  party,  "  we  have 
talked  it  over  together,  and  we  have  agreed  to  do  it  every  night, 
if  jour  honour — long  life  to  you ! — will  only  promise  to  do  one 
thing  for  us ;  and  that  is,  just  to  let  us  have  a  leetle  noggin  of 
whisky  after  the  green  rag  comes  down." 

This  moderate  request  was  readily  complied  with,  and  the 
giants  behaved  themselves  exceedingly  well,  and  never  got 

The  party  stayed  seven  weeks  at  Dublin.  Grimaldi  made  a 
great  deal  of  money  by  the  trip,  and  realized  by  his  benefit 
alone,  two  hundred  pounds. 

Between  September,  1820,  when  Covent  Garden  re-opened, 
and  Christmas,  when  the  new  pantomime  was  brought  forward, 
Grimaldi  frequently  appeared  as  Kasrac  in  "  Aladdin ;"  nor  did 
his  increasing  infirmities  render  his  performance  more  painful 
or  wearisome  than  usual.  The  pantomime  was  called  "Har- 
lequin and  Friar  Bacon,"  and  was  exceedingly  successful,  as  it 
was  received  with  great  approbation,  and  was  repeated  for  fifty- 
two  nights.  This  season  his  son  was  for  the  first  time  regularly 
engaged  at  Covent  Garden.*  He  played  Fribble  in  the  opening, 
and  afterwards  the  Lover,  (a  character  which  has  now  become 
obsolete,)  and  bade  fair  to  become  a  great  public  favourite. 

Sadler's  Wells  was  let  at  Easter,  1821,  for  the  ensuing  three 
seasons,  to  Mr.  Egerton,  well  known  to  the  public  as  a  performer 

*  Young  Joe  made  his  first  appearance  at  Covent  Garden,  as  Chittaque,  a 
little-footed  Chinese  Empress,  with  a  big  body,  afterwards  Clowny-chip,  in  the 
pantomime  of  "  Harlequin  and  Fortunio,"  on  December  26,  1815.  Young  Joe, 
as  Adonis  Fribble,  in  "  Harlequin  and  Friar  Bacon,"  was  an  admirable  lover  of 
the  dandy  kind ;  Ellar,  Barnes,  and  Miss  E.  Dennett  maintained  the  usual 
ascendancy  of  pantomime  at  this  theatre;  but  the  greatest  merit  characterised 
Grimaldi,  whose  Clown  seemed  to  carry  all  before  it.  His  parody  on  the  dagger- 
scene  in  "  Macbeth,"  and  his  duet  with  the  oyster,  elicited  unequivocal  plaudits. 
Most  truly  did  Theodore  Hook  observe— "  The  Covent  Garden  pantomime  ia 
excellent.  The  strength  of  Grimaldi,  the  Garrick  of  Clowns,  seems,  like  that  of 
wine,  to  increase  with  age ;  his  absurdities  are  admirable.  There  is  a  life  and 
spirit  about  the  whole  arrangement  of  this  species  of  entertainment  here,  which 
is  calculated  not  only  to  bewitch  the  little  Masters  and  Misse>3,  but  aven  to  amua« 
the  children  of  larger  growth." 


at  Covent  Garden.  He  and  Grimaldi  had  been  very  good 
friends  for  many  years ;  but  some  clauses  being  introduced  into 
his  agreement  for  hiring  the  theatre  which  Grimaldi  as  a  pro- 
prietor so  strongly  disapproved  that  he  refused  to  affix  his  sig- 
nature to  the  document,  a  coolness  took  place  between  them 
which  was  never  afterwards  removed.  Notwithstanding  this 
difference,  he  always  continued  to  entertain  a  high  respect  for 
Egerton,  who  was  greatly  liked  by  his  friends  and  the  profession 
generally,  and  who  had  been  at  one  period  of  his  career  a  much 
better  actor  than  the  play- goers  of  the  present  day  remember 
him.  This  gentleman  was  afterwards  connected  with  Mr. 
Abbott  in  the  management  of  the  Victoria  Theatre,  in  which 
speculation  they  both  sustained  considerable  losses.  Both  are 
since  dead. 

On  the  23rd  of  April,  Farley  produced  ^  his  melodrama  of 
*' Undine;  or,  the  Spirit  of  the  Waters,"  in  which  Grimaldi 
sustained  a  new  character.* 

In  the  autumn,  Ellar,  Grimaldi,  and  his  son  again  repaired 
to  Dublin,  making  a  stay  of  five  weeks  at  the  Birmingham 
Theatre,t  which  was  then  in  the  hands  of  Mr.  Bunn.  Here 
they  got  up  the  pantomime  of  "  Friar  Bacon,"  which  was  played 
to  excellent  houses  for  twenty-four  nights.  Mr.  Bunn  behaved 
on  this  occasion,  as  Grimaloi  states  ne  did  upon  every  other 
in  which  he  was  concerned,  with  great  liberality,  allowing  him 
a  salary  of  twenty  pounds  per  week,  and  the  son  nine  pounds 
per  week,  independent  of  half  a  clear  benefit,  the  profits  of 
which  were  great.  J 

At  Dublin,  "  Friar  Bacon"  was  played  twenty-nine  nights 
out  of  the  thirty- two  for  which  Grimaldi  and  his  party  were 
engaged,  and  the  pieces  were  so  successful,  that  it  would  have 
been  the  interest  of  all  parties  to  prolong  their  engagements,  if 

*  Kuhlebom,  the  Water-King,  Mr.  Farley ;  Gybliu,  the  Goblin  Sprite,  subject 
to  the  power  of  Kuhleborn,  Mr.  Grimaldi;  Undine,  Misa  E.  Dennett. 

t  During  this  stay  at  Birmingham,  Grimaldi  had  his  portrait  painted  by  S. 
Haven,  on  a  papier-mache  box,  circular  in  form  and  of  large  size.  The  re- 
semblance was  so  satisfactory,  that  he  had  it  copied,  and  brought  away  in  all 
six  boxes,  which  he  presented  to  friends,  not  retaining  one  for  himself. 

J  In  another  part  of  the  data  upon  which  these  Memoirs  are  founded,  Grimaldi 
has  the  following  remarks  concerning  this  gentleman,  which,  as  he  appears  to 
have  been  anxious  that  they  should  obtain  publicity,  the  Editor  subjoins  in  his 
own  words  : — "  A  great  deal  has  been  said  about,  and  indeed  against,  Mr.  Bunn, 
since  he  has  become  a  London  manager ;  but  I  have  had  many  opportunities  of 
observing  him  and  his  mode  of  doing  business,  and  I  feel  satisfied  that  he  has 
most  liberal  notions,  and  would  ii  it  were  in  his  power  amply  recompense 
according  to  their  talents  any  artiste  employed  by  him.  I  beg  it  may  be  under- 
stood that  in  this  remark  I  do  not  allude  in  any  way  to  myself;  for,  patting 
aside  every  consideration  of  what  my  talents  might  have  been,  my  name  alone 
stood  so  high  as  to  ensure  a  full  house  at  Birmingham :— I  speak  from  what  I 
know  of  his  conduct  with  regard  to  others ;  and  if  ever  his  industry  meets  with 
the  success  it  deserves,  I  feel  certain  that  the  liberality  of  disposition  which  I 
hare  spoken  of  will  be  displayed  in  a  commensurate  degree." 


the  arrangements  at  Covent  Garden  had  admitted  of  their  doing 
so.  It  was  at  this  period  that,  with  an  agony  of  mind  perfectly 
indescribable,  Grimaldi  found  his  health  giving  way  by  alarming 
degrees  beneath  the  ravages  of  premature  old  age.  On  the 
eighteenth  night  of  their  performance  in  Dublin,  he  became  so 
ill  that  he  was  obliged  to  throw  up  his  part  at  a  very  short 
notice,  and  to  send  immediately  for  medical  aid.  He  was  at- 
tended by  one  of  the  most  eminent  physicians  in  Dublin,  and 
under  his  treatment  recovered  sufficiently  to  be  enabled  to 
resume  his  character  in  about  a  week.  But  he  felt,  although  he 
could  not  bear  to  acknowledge  it  even  to  himself,  that  his  resto- 
ration to  health  was  only  temporary,  that  his  strength  was 
rapidly  failing  him,  that  his  limbs  grew  weaker,  and  his  frame 
became  more  shaken  every  succeeding  day,  and  that  utter  de- 
crepitude, with  its  long  train  of  miseries  and  privations,  was 
coming  upon  him.  His  presentiments  were  but  too  fully 
realized,  but  the  realization  of  his  worst  fears  came  upon  him 
with  a  rapidity  which  even  he,  conscious  as  he  was  of  all  the 
symptoms,  had  never  deemed  possible. 

The  successful  sojourn  of  the  party  at  Dublin  at  length  drew 
to  a  close,  as  it  was  necessary  that  they  should  return  to  London 
to  be  in  readiness  for  the  pantomime.  On  the  6th  of  December, 

1821,  they  bade  farewell  to  Ireland,  and  after  a  most  boisterous 
voyage  landed  at  Holyhead,  whence  they  posted  in  haste  to 
town,  and  the  day  after  their  arrival  began  the  rehearsals  for 
Christmas.    In  his  ill  state  of  health,  Grimaldi  was  terribly 
shaken  by  the  journey  home  and  the  sea-sickness,  and  felt  worse 
in  point  of  general  health  than  he  had  yet  done. 

The  pantomime  was  "  The  Yellow  Dwarf."*  Although  the 
performers  began  to  rehearse  at  an  unusually  late  period,  its 
success  was  perfect;  but,  notwithstanding  it  ran  forty-four 
nights,  Grimaldi  never  thought  it  a  favourite  with  the  public. 
He  himself  played  the  Yellow  Dwarf,  and  his  son  played  a  part 
called  "  Guinea  Pig."  "  Cherry  and  Fair  Star"  was  revived  at 

*  The  pantomime  at  Covent  Garden  Theatre,  on  December  26, 1821,  was  en- 
titled "  Harlequin  and  Mother  Bunch ;  or,  The  Yellow  Dwarf."  The  characters 
were  :— The  King  of  the  Gold  Mines,  afterwards  Harlequin,  Mr.  Ellar ;  Guinea 
Pig,  afterwards  Harlequin's  lacquey,  Mr.  J.  S.  Grimaldi ;  Yellow  Dwarf,  after- 
wards Clown,  Mr.  Grimaldi;  the  Princess  Allfair,  afterwards  Columbine,  Miss 
E.  Dennett ;  and  the  Queen  of  Golconda,  a  lady  with  a  ruby  nose,  afterwards 
Pantaloon,  Mr.  Barnes. 

Grimaldi,  for  the  benefit  of  Mr.  T.  Dibdin,  at  the  Surrey  Theatre,  March  26, 

1822,  played  his  old  part  of  Squire  Bugle,  in  "Mother  Goose,"  Eidgway  being 
the  Harlequin.    On  Easter  Monday,  April  8th,  the  melo-dramatic  romance  of 
"  Cherry  and  Fair  Star ;  or,  the  Children  of  Cyprus,"  was  produced  at  Covent 
Garden.    Fair  Star  was  played  by  Miss  Foote,  now  Countess  of  Harrington ; 
Gnmaldi  enacted  Topac,  the  slave  of   the   Greek  Captain.     This  piece  for 
splendour  surpassed  every  other  production  at  that  theatre ;  the  accompaniments 
were  of  the  first  description,  and  the  looking-glaas  scene  presented  a  gorgeous 


Easter,  in  consequence  of  its  great  success  in  the  previous 
season,  and  answered  the  purpose  extremely  well. 

During  the  whole  of  this  summer  Grimaldi's  health  gradually 
6ut  steadily  declined.  Sometimes  there  were  slight  fluctuations 
for  the  better,  in  which  he  felt  so  much  improved  as  to  fancy 
that  his  strength  was  beginning  to  return ;  and  although  the 
next  day's  decay  and  lassitude  showed  but  too  clearly  that  they 
were  but  brief  intervals  of  strength,  he  fondly  regarded  these 
red-letter  days  as  tokens  of  a  real  and  permanent  change  for 
the  better.  Perhaps  even  now,  as  he  had  nothing  to  do  at 
Sadler's  Wells,  and  was  too  unwell  to  accept  country  engage- 
ments, if  he  had  remained  quiet  during  the  Covent  Garden 
recess,  lived  with  great  regularity,  and  acted  upon  the  best 
medical  advice,  he  might  have  retained  for  many  years  longer 
some  portion  of  his  health  and  spirits.  But  Mr.  Glossop,  who 
was  then  the  lessee  of  the  Coburg  Theatre  (now  the  Victoria), 
made  him  an  offer  which  he  could  not  resist,  and  he  acted  there 
for  six  weeks,*  at  a  considerable  sum  per  week  and  a  free 
benefit.  The  engagement  turned  out  so  profitable  a  one  for  the 
management,  that  he  might  have  renewed  it  for  the  same  space 
of  time,  if  he  had  not  become  too  ill  to  appear  upon  the  stage. 

*  Grimaldi's  performances  commenced  at  the  Coburg,  on  Monday,  July  1st, 
1822,  in  a  pantomime,  comprising  a  selection  of  the  most  successful  scenes  from 
various  harlequinades  of  the  last  fifteen  years,  called  "  Salmagundi;  or,  the 
Clown's  Dish  of  all  Sorts !"  produced  under  Grimaldi's  directions.  The  scenery 
painted  by  Stanfield  and  his  assistants.  Harlequin,  Mr.  Ho  well;  Pantaloon, 
Mr.  Barnes,  his  first  appearance  in  that  theatre ;  Lover,  Mr.  Widdicomb ; 
Clown,  Mr.  Grimaldi ;  Columbine,  Madame  Le  Clercq.  This  lasted  six  nights ; 
on  the  8th,  the  pantomime  of  "  Harlequin  and  the  Three  Wishes ;  or,  Puck  and 
the  Black  Puddings ;"  the  pantomimists  as  in  the  former  piece.  On  Monday, 
July  15th,  commenced  the  third  week  of  Grimaldi's  engagement,  in  a  new 
pantomime  called  "  Disputes  in  China;  or,  Harlequin  and  the  Kong  Merchants !" 
the  scenery  painted  from  views  taken  in  China,  by  Stanfield.  J.  S.  Grimaldi 
made  his  first  appearance  at  the  Coburg  this  evening.  Joe  and  his  son 
sustained  the  characters  of  the  two  clowns  incidental  to  the  piece.  In  the  scene 
of  the  Whampoa  river,  Joe  affected  to  astonish  John  China-man  with  his  son j 
of  "  Hot  Codlins."  The  bill  of  Monday,  July  22,  was  underlined  to  the  effect 
that,  in  consequence  of  the  continuous  and  dangerous  indisposition  of  Mr. 
Grimaldi,  the  pantomime  was  unavoidably  postponed.  Gilderoy,  in  the  melo- 
drama of  that  name,  was  this  night  played  by  Mr.  J.  H.  Chapman,  from  the 
Surrey  Theatre :  it  had  been  previously  played  by  Henry  Kemble,  but  the 
irregularities  and  drunkenness  of  this  man  were  unpardonable :  he  was  the 
instigator  of  young  Joe's  follies  and  misconduct ;  latterly  they  were  inseparable, 
and  which  was  the  worst  of  the  two  was  hard  to  be  decided.  Henry  Kemble 
had  been  employed  to  supply  Huntley's  vacancy,  caused  by  illness ;  but  he 
could  scarcely  be  retained  a  fortnight,  and  was  dismissed. 

On  the  29th,  Grimaldi  was  so  far  recovered  that  he  resumed  his  part  of  Clown 
in  the  "Disputes  in  China."  The  bills  announced  his  re-appearance  as  "posi- 
tively the  last  six  nights  of  his  performing ;"  and  a  further  intimation,  which  was 
really  a  matter  of  fact : — "  It  is  particularly  recommended  to  those  families  who 
have  not  witnessed  the  inimitable  acting  of  Mr.  Grimaldi  and  his  son,  Mr.  J.  S. 
Grimaldi,  that  they  should  secure  places  as  soon  as  possible,  much  disappoint- 
ment having  been  experienced  by  parties  coming  late  and  finding  the  boxes 
filled  from  the  overflowing  of  the  pit."  Grimaldi  sang  on  these  last  six  nights 
his  two  most  popular  songs,  "  Tippitywitchet"  and  "  Hot  Codlins."  Hia  last 
night  was  August  3,  and  concluded  the  four  weeks  of  his  engagement. 


At  this  crisis  of  his  disorder  Grimaldi  was  advised  to  try  the 
Cheltenham  waters.  He  went  to  Cheltenham  in  August,  and 
being  somewhat  recovered  by  the  change  of  air,  consented  to  act 
for  1'arley  and  Abbott,  who  had  taken  the  theatre  on  specula- 
tion, for  twelve  nights.  He  cleared  150£. ;  and  whether  this 
sum  of  money,  or  the  waters,  or  the  change  of  scene  revived 
him  is  uncertain,  but  he  felt  greatly  improved  in  health  when 
he  returned  to  London  for  the  opening  of  Covent  Garden,  to 
commence  what  ultimately  proved  to  be  his  last  season  at  that 

"  Harlequin  and  the  Ogress ;  or,  the  Sleeping  Beauty,"  was 
the  pantomime  of  the  season.  The  rehearsals  went  off  very 
briskly,  and  the  piece,  when  it  was  produced,  met  with  the 
success  which  generally  attended  the  production  of  pantomimes 
at  that  house.  Nothing,  indeed,  could  exceed  the  liberality 
displayed  by  Mr.  Harris  in  getting  up  this  species  of  entertain- 
ment ;  to  which  circumstance,  in  a  great  measure,  the  almost 
uniform  success  of  the  pantomimes  may  be  attributed.  This 
spirit  was  not  confined  to  the  stage  and  its  appointments,  but 
was  also  extended  in  an  unusual  degree  to  the  actors.  Every 
suggestion  was  readily  listened  to,  and  as  readily  acted  upon, 
if  it  appeared  at  all  reasonable :  every  article  of  dress  was  pro- 
vided at  the  expense  of  the  management ;  the  principal  actors 
were  allowed  a  pint  of  wine  each,  every  night  the  pantomime 
was  played,  and  on  the  evening  of  its  first  representation  they 
were  invited  to  a  handsome  dinner  at  the  Piazza  Coftee-house, 
whither  they  all  repaired  directly  the  rehearsal  was  over.  At 
these  dinners  Earley  took  the  chair,  while  Brandon  acted  as 
vice ;  and  there  is  no  doubt  that  they  materially  contributed  to 
the  success  of  the  pantomimes.  There  can  be  no  better  means 
of  securing  the  hearty  good- will  and  co-operation  of  the  parties 
employed  in  undertakings  of  this  or  any  other  description  than 
treating  them  in  a  spirit  of  generosity  and  courtesy. 

In  this  pantomime  Grimaldi  played  a  part  with  the  very 
pantomimic  name  of  "  Grimgribber ;"  and  that  sustained  by 
his  son  was  expressively  described  in  the  bills  as  "  Whirligig." 
It  ran  until  nearly  the  following  Easter,  when  anew  melodrama 
by  Farley  appeared,  called  "The  Vision  of  the  Sun;  or,  the 
Orphan  of  Peru." 

In  this  piece,  which  came  out  on  the  23rd  of  March,  1823, 
Grimaldi  played  a  prominent  character ;  but  even  during  the 
earlier  nights  of  its  very  successful  representation,  he  could 
scarcely  struggle  through  his  part.  His  frame  was  weak  and 
debilitated,  his  joints  stiff,  and  his  muscles  relaxed ;  every 
effort  he  made  was  followed  by  cramps  and  spasms  of  the  most 
agonizing  nature.  Men  were  obliged  to  be  kept  waiting  at  the 
side-scenes,  who  caught  him  in  their  arms  when  he  staggered 
from  the  stage,  and  supported  him,  whUe  others  chafed  his 



limbs, — which  was  obliged  to  be  incessantly  done  until  he  was 
called  for  the  next  scene,  or  he  could  not  have  appeared  again. 
Every  time  he  came  off,  his  sinews  were  gathered  up  into  huge 
knots  by  the  cramps  that  followed  his  exertions,  which  could 
only  be  reduced  by  violent  rubbing,  and  even  that  frequently 
failed  to  produce  the  desired  effect.  The  spectators,  who  were 
convulsed  with  laughter  while  he  was  on  the  stage,  little  thought 
that  while  their  applause  was  Resounding  through  the  house,  he 
was  suffering  the  most  excruciating  and  horrible  pains.  But  so 
it  was  until  the  twenty-fourth  night  of  the  piece,  when  he  had 
no  alternative,  in  consequence  of  his  intense  sufferings,  but  to 
throw  up  the  part- 
On  the  preceding  night,  although  every  possible  remedy  was 
tried,  he  could  scarcely  drag  himself  through  the  piece ;  and  on 
this  occasion  it  was  only  with  the  most  extreme  difficulty  and 
by  dint  of  extraordinary  physical  exertion  and  agony,  that  he 
could  conclude  the  performance,  when  he  was  carried  to  his 
dressing-room  exhausted  and  powerless. 

Here,  when  his  bodily  anguish  had  in  some  measure  subsided, 
he  began  to  reflect  seriously  on  his  sad  condition.  And  when 
he  remembered  how  long  this  illness  had  been  hovering  about 
him,  how  gradually  it  had  crept  over  his  frame,  and  subdued 
his  energies,  with  what  obstinacy  it  had  baffled  the  skill  of  the 
most  eminent  medical  professors,  and  how  utterly  his  powers 
had  wasted  away  beneath  it,  he  came  to  the  painful  conviction 
that  his  professional  existence  was  over.  Enduring  from  this 
terrible  certainty  a  degree  of  anguish,  to  which  all  his  bodily 
sufferings  were  as  nothing,  he  covered  his  face  with  his  hands 
and  wept  like  a  child.  The  next  morning  he  sent  word  to  the 
theatre  that  he  was  disabled  by  illness  from  performing. 

His  son  studied  the  part  in  one  day,  and  played  it  that  night 
with  considerable  success.  The  piece  was  performed  forty-four 
nights  during  the  season ;  but  although  he  afterwards  rallied  a 
little,  he  never  attempted  to  resume  the  part.  In  spite  of  all 
his  sufferings,  which  were  great,  and  a  settled  foreboding  that 
his  course  was  run,  it  was  some  years  before  hope  deserted  him : 
and  for  a  long  time,  from  day  to  day  he  encouraged  hopes  of 
being  at  some  future  period  able  to  resume  the  avocations  in 
which  he  had  spent  his  life. 

Grimaldi  repaired  again,  in  the  month  of  August,  to  Chelten- 
ham, recollecting  that  it  had  had  some  beneficial  effect  on  his 
health  in  the  previous  year.  During  his  stay,  he  so  far  recovered 
as  to  be  enabled  to  play  a  few  nights  at  the  theatre,  then  under 
the  management  of  Mr.  Parley.  Here  he  encountered  Mr. 
Bunn,  who  informed  him  that  Mr.  Charles  Kemble  was  then 
starring  at  Birmingham,  and  that  Colonel  Berkeley  having 
promised  to  play  for  his  benefit,  he  had  come  over  to  Cheltenham 
to  ascertain  what  part  the  Colonel  would  wish  to  play.  Mr. 
Bonn  added,  that  he  was  there  as  much  for  the  purpose  of  seeing 


Grimaldi  as  with  any  other  object,  as  he  wanted  him  to  put  a 
little  money  into  both  their  purses,  by  playing  a  few  nights  at 
Birmingham.  Grimaldi  declined  at  first,  but  being  pressed,  and 
tempted  by  Mr.  Bunn's  offer,  consented  to  act  for  two  nights 
only,  the  receipts,  whatever  they  might  happen  to  be,  to  be 
divided  between  them. 

It  was  Mr.  Charles  Kemble's  benefit  night  when  he  and  his 
son  arrived  at  Birmingham ;  and  as  that  gentleman  was  a  great 
favourite  there,  as  indeed  he  was  everywhere  throughout  his 
brilliant  career,  Grimaldi  entertained  some  fears  that  the  circum- 
stance would  prove  prejudicial  to  his  interests.  He  sought  a 
few  moments'  conversation  with  Mr.  Kemble  in  the  course  of 
the  evening,  and  informed  him  that  his  son  had  received  an 
offer  of  eight  pounds  per  week  from  the  Drury  Lane  Manage- 
ment, but  that  rather  than  he  should  leave  Covent  Garden 
Theatre,  with  which  his  father  had  now  been  connected  so  long, 
and  where  he  had  experienced  so  much  liberality,  he  was  ready 
to  accept  an  engagement  there  at  six  pounds  per  week,  if  agree- 
able to  the  proprietors. 

"Joe,"  said  Mr.  Charles  Kemble,  "your  offer  is  a  very  hand- 
some one,  and  I  agree  to  it  at  once.  Your  son  is  now  engaged 
with  us  on  the  terms  you  have  mentioned." 

They  shook  hands  and  parted.  Grimaldi  strolled  into  the 
green-room,  and  there  met  Colonel  Berkeley,  who,  after  a  short 
conversation,  said  that  he  very  much  wished  to  play  Yalentine 
to  his  Orson :  to  which  Grimaldi  replied,  it  would  give  him 
great  pleasure  to  afford  him  the  opportunity  whenever  he  felt 

"Very  well,"  said  Colonel  Berkeley,  "then  we  will  consider 
the  matter  settled.  As  soon  as  you  have  done  here,  you  must 
come  to  Cheltenham  for  one  night.  I  will  make  all  necessary 
arrangements  with  Farley :  your  son  shall  play  the  Green 
Knight,  and  I  will  give  you  one  hundred  pounds  as  a  remunera- 
tion. We  will  try  what  we  can  do  together,  Joe,  to  amuse  the 

Grimaldi  had  not  intended  to  act  again  after  his  Birmingham 
engagement,  until  the  production  of  the  Christmas  pantomime 
at  Covent  Garden ;  but  seeing  that  Colonel  Berkeley  was  anxious 
to  effect  the  arrangement,  and  feeling  grateful  for  the  liberality 
of  his  offer,  he  pledged  himself  without  hesitation  to  accept  his 
terms.  The  play  was  never  done,  however,  by  these  three  per- 
formers, for  Grimaldi' s  theatrical  career  was  over. 

The  night  after  Mr.  Charles  Kemble's  benefit,  Grimaldi  pro- 
duced a  little  pantomime  of  his  own,  called  "Puck  and  the 
Puddings."  The  hit  was  so  complete,  and  the  sensation  he 
excited  so  great,  that  he  felt^nlinitely  better  than  he  had  done 
for  a  long  time,  and  was,  indeed,  so  greatly  restored  that  he 
was  induced  to  accept  an  engagement  for  one  additional  night, 
the  success  of  which  equalled — it  could  not  excel — that  of  the 

Q  2 


two  previous  evenings.  When  the  curtain  fell  on  the  third 
night,  Mr.  Bunn  presented  him  with  186/.  12s.  as  his  share  of 
the  profits,  accompanied  with  many  wishes  for  his  speedy  and 
perfect  restoration  to  health,  which  Grrimaldi  himself,  judging 
from  his  unwonted  spirit  and  vigour,  cheerfully  hoped  might  be 
yet  in  store  for  him. 

These  hopes  were  never  to  be  realized :  the  enthusiastic  recep- 
tion he  had  met  with — unusually  enthusiastic  even  for  him, — 
had  roused  him  for  a  brief  period,  and  called  forth  aR  his  former 
energies  only  to  hasten  their  final  prostration.  With  the  excep- 
tion of  his  two  farewell  benefits,  this  was  his  last  appearance, 
his  final  exit  from  the  boards  he  had  trodden  from  a  child,  the 
last  occasion  of  his  calling  forth  those  peals  of  merriment  and 
approbation  which,  cheerfully  as  they  sounded  to  him,  had  been 
surely  ringing  his  death-knell  for  many  ye*»*«. 



1823  to  1827. 

His  great  afflictions  augmented  by  the  dissipation  and  recklessness  of  Ms  Son— 
He  is  compelled  to  retire  from  Covent  Garden  Theatre,  and  is  succeeded  by 
him— New  Speculation  at  Sadler's  Wells— Changes  in  the  System  of  Manage, 
ment,  and  their  results — Sir  James  Scarlett  and  a  blushing  Witness. 

FROM  the  period  at  which  we  have  now  arrived,  down  to  within 
a  year  or  so  of  his  death,  Grimaldi  experienced  little  or  nothing 
but  one  constant  succession  of  afflictions  and  calamities,  the 
pressure  of  which  nearly  bowed  him  to  the  earth;  afflictions 
which  it  is  painful  to  contemplate,  and  a  detailed  account  of 
which  would  be  neither  instructive  nor  entertaining.  A  tale  of 
unmitigated  suffering,  even  when  that  suffering  be  mental, 
possesses  but  few  attractions  for  the  reader ;  but  when,  as  in 
this  case,  a  large  portion  of  it  is  physical,  it  loses  even  the  few 
attractions  which  the  former  would  possess,  and  grows  abso- 
lutely distasteful.  Bearing  these  circumstances  in  mind,  we 
shall  follow  Grimaldi's  example  in  this  particular,  and  study  in 
the  remaining  pages  of  his  life  to  touch  as  lightly  as  we  can 
upon  the  heavy  catalogue  of  his  calamities,  and  to  lay  no 
unnecessary  stress  upon  this  cheerless  portion  of  his  existence. 

Grimaldi  slept  at  .Birmingham  the  night  after  his  closing 
performance,  and  on  the  following  morning  returned  to  Chelten- 
ham, where  he  was  attacked  by  a  severe  and  alarming  illness, 
which  for  more  than  a  month  confined  him  to  his  bed,  whence 
he  rose  at  last  a  cripple  for  life. 

Independent  of  these  sufferings  of  the  body,  he  had  to  en- 
counter mental  afflictions  of  no  ordinary  kind.  He  was  devotedly 
attached  to  his  son,  who  was  his  only  child,  for  whom  he  had 
always  entertained  the  most  anxious  solicitude,  whom  he  had 
educated  at  a  great  expense,  and  upon  whom  a  considerable 
portion  of  the  earnings  of  his  best  days  had  been  most  liberally 
bestowed.  Up  to  this  time  he  had  well  repaid  all  the  care  and 
solicitude  of  his  parents :  he  had  risen  gradually  in  the  esti- 
mation of  the  public,  had  increased  every  year  in  prosperity, 
and  still  remained  at  home  his  father's  friend  and  companion. 
It  is  matter  of  pretty  general  notoriety  that  the  young  man  ran 
a  reckless  and  vicious  course,  and  in  time  so  shocked  and  dis- 
gusted even  those  who  were  merely  brought  into  contact  with 


him  at  the  theatre  for  a  few  hours  in  a  night,  that  it  was  found 
impossible  to  continue  his  engagements. 

The  first  notification  his  father  received  of  his  folly  and  ex- 
travagance was  during  their  stay  at  Cheltenham,  when  one 
morning,  shortly  after  he  had  risen  from  his  sick-bed,  he  was 
waited  upon  by  one  of  the  town  authorities,  who  informed  him. 
that  his  son  was  then  locked  up  for  some  drunken  freaks  com- 
mitted overnight.  He  instantly  paid  everything  that  was 
demanded,  and  procured  his  release;  but  in  some  skirmish 
with  the  constables  he  had  received  a  severe  blow  on  the  head 
from  a  staff,  which,  crushing  his  hat,  alighted  on  the  skull 
and  inflicted  a  desperate  wound.  It  is  supposed  that  this 
unfortunate  event  disordered  his  intellects,  as  from  that  time, 
instead  of  the  kind  and  affectionate  son  he  had  previously  been, 
he  became  a  wild  and  furious  savage ;  he  was  frequently 
attacked  with  dreadful  fits  of  epilepsy,  and  continually  com- 
mitted actions  which  nothing  but  madness  could  prompt.  In 
1828,  he  had  a  decided  attack  of  insanity,  and  was  confined  in  a 
strait- waistcoat  in  his  father's  house  for  some  time.  As  no  dis- 
order of  mind  had  appeared  in  him  before,  and  as  his  miserable 
career  may  be  dated  from  this  ^time,  it  is  not  unreasonable  to 
suppose  that  the  wound  he  received  at  Cheltenham  was  among 
the  chief  causes  of  his  short-lived  delirium. 

They  returned  to  London  together,  and  for  the  next  three 
months  Grimaldi  consulted  the  most  eminent  medical  men  in 
the  hope  of  recovering  some  portion  of  his  lost  health  and 
strength.  During  that  time  he  suffered  an  intensity  of  anxiety 
which  it  is  difficult  to  conceive,  as  their  final  decision  upon  the 
remotest  probability  of  his  recovery  was  postponed  from  day  to 
day.  All  their  efforts  were  in  yain,  however.  Towards  the  end 
of  October,  he  received  a  final  intimation  that  it  was  useless  for 
him  to  nourish  any  hope  of  recovering  the  use  of  his  limbs,  and 
that  although  nature,  assisted  by  great  care  on  his  part  and  the 
watchfulness  of  his  medical  attendants,  might  certainly  alleviate 
some  of  his  severe  pains,  his  final  recovery  was  next  to  impos- 
sible, and  he  must  make  up  his  mind  to  relinquish  every  thought 
of  resuming  the  exercise  of  his  profession. 

Among  the  gentlemen  to  whose  kindness  and  attention  he  was 
greatly  indebted  in  this  stage  of  his  trials,  were,  Sir  Astley 
Cooper,  Sir  Matthew  Tierney,  Mr.  Abernethy,  Dr.  Farr,  Dr. 
Temple,  Dr.  Uwins,  Dr.  Mitchell,  Mr.  Thomas  and  Mr.  Jamea 
Wilson.  To  all  these  gentlemen  he  was  personally  unknown ; 
but  they  all  attended  him  gratuitously,  and  earnestly  requested 
him  to  apply  to  them  without  reserve  upon  every  occasion 
when  it  was  at  all  likely  that  they  could  be  of  the  slightest 

It  was  with  no  slight  despair  that  Grimaldi  received  the 
announcement  that  for  the  rest  of  his  days  he  was  a  cripple, 
Dossibly  the  constant  inmate  of  a  sick  room,  and  that  he  had 


not  even  a  distant  prospect  of  resuming  the  occupations  to 
which  he  had  been  attached  from  his  cradle,  and  from  which  he 
was  enabled  up  to  this  time  to  realize  an  annual  income  of 
fifteen  hundred  pounds:  and  all  this  without  any  private 
fortune  or  resources,  with  the  exception  of  his  shares  in  Sadler's 
Wells  Theatre,  which  had  hitherto  proved  a  dead  loss.  For 
some  hours  after  this  opinion  of  his  medical  men  had  been  com- 
municated to  him,  he  sat  stupified  with  the  heaviness  of  the 
calamity,  and  fell  into  a  state  of  extreme  mental  distress,  from 
which  it  was  a  long  time  before  he  was  thoroughly  roused.  As 
soon  as  he  could  begin  to  exercise  his  reason,  he  recollected  that 
it  was  a  duty  he  owed  his  employers  to  inform  them  of  his  ina- 
bility to  retain  his  situation  at  Covent  Garden,  the  more  espe- 
cially as  it  was  time  they  made  some  arrangements  for  the 
ensuing  Christmas  pantomime.  Accordingly  he  sent  a  note  to 
the  theatre,  acquainting  them  with  his  _  melancholy  condition, 
and  the  impossibility  of  his  fulfilling  his  articles,  (which  had 
only  been  entered  into  in  the  preceding  January,  and  were  for 
three  years,)  and  recommending  them  to  engage  without  loss  of 
time  some  other  individual  to  supply  his  place. 

The  communication  was  received  with  much  kindness,  and 
many  good  wishes  for  his  recovery.  After  several  interviews 
and  much  consideration,  it  was  resolved  that  his  son,  J.  S 
Grimaldi,  should  be  brought  out  as  principal  Clown  in  the 
ensuing  Christmas  pantomime.  He  appeared,  for  the  first 
time*  in  that  character,  in  the  pantomime  of  "  Harlequin  and 
Poor  Eobin,  or  the  House  that  Jack  built;"  and  his  success 
was  complete.  His  father  sat  in  the  front  of  the  house  on  his 
first  night,  and  was  no  less  gratified  by  his  reception  in  public, 
than  by  the  congratulations  which  poured  upon  him  when  he 
went  round  to  the  stage  and  found  everybody  delighted  with 
the  result  of  the  trial.  The  pantomime  proved  very  successful ; 
it  had  an  extended  run,  and  the  proprietors  of  the  theatre, 
highly  satisfied  with  the  young  man's  success,  with  much 
liberality  cancelled  his  existing  articles,  which  were  for  6J.  per 
week,  and  entered  into  a  new  agreement  by  which  they  raised 
his  salary  to  81.  To  Grimaldi,  also,  they  behaved  in  a  most 
handsome  manner ;  for  although  his  regular  salary  was,  as  a 
matter  of  course,  stopped  from,  the  day  on  which  he  communi- 
cated his  inability  to  perform,  they  continued  to  allow  him  5l.  a 
week  for  the  remainder  of  the  season ;  an  act  of  much  considera- 
tion and  kindness  on  their  part,  and  a  far  greater  token  of 
their  recollection  of  his  services  than  he  had  ever  expected  to 

The  three  years  for  which  Egerton  had  taken  Sadler's  Wells 
having  now  expired,  he  was  requested  by  the  proprietors  to 
state  what  views  he  entertained  as  to  retaining  or  giving  up  the 

*  On  Friday,  December  26, 1823. 


property.  It  being  found  impossible  to  comply  with  his  terms, 
and  a  Mr.  Williams,*  wbo  at  that  time  had  the  Surrey,  having 
made  an  offer  for  the  theatre,  they  agreed  to  let  it  to  him  for  one 
season.  Soon  after  this  agreement  was  entered  into,  Williams 
called  upon  Grimaldi  one  morning  upon  business,  and  in  the 
course  of  the  interview  the  latter  inquired  by  what  plan  he 
proposed  to  make  both  theatres  answer. 

"  Why,  Mr.  Grimaldi,"  replied  Williams,  "  if  two  theatres 
could  be  kept  open  at  the  same  expense  as  one,  and  the  company 
equally— mind,  I  say  equally— good,  don't  you  think  it  very 
likely  that  the  speculation  would  succeed  r" 

"  Yes,  1  think  it  would,"  rejoined  Grimaldi,  doubtfully,  for  as 
yet  he  understood  nothing  of  the  manager's  drift ;  "I  think  it 

"  And  so  do  I,"  said  the  other ;  "  and  that's  the  way  I  mean 
to  manage.  I  mean  to  work  the  two  theatres  with  one  and  the 
same  company :  I  mean  to  employ  one-half  the  company  in  the 
earlier  part  of  the  evening  at  Sadler's  Wells,  and  then  to  transfer 
them  to  the  Surrey,  to  finish  there ; — at  that  theatre  I  shall  do 
precisely  the  same :  and  I  am  now  having  carriages  built 
expressly  to  convey  them  backwards  and  forwards." 

This  system,  which  has  since  been  tried  (without  the  carriages) 
at  the  two  great  houses,  was  actually  put  in  practice.  On 
Easter  Monday,  1824,  the  carriages  began  to  run,  and  the  two 
seasons  commenced.  The  speculation  turned  out  as  Grimaldi 
had  anticipated — a  dead  failure :  the  lessee  lost  some  money 
himself,  and  got  greatly  into  debt  with  the  proprietors ;  upon 
which,  fearing  to  increase  their  losses,  they  took  measures  to 
recover  possession  of  the  theatre.  When  they  obtained  it,  they 
were  obliged  to  finish  the  season  themselves ;  by  which,  as  they 
had  never  contemplated  such  a  proceeding,  and  had  made  no 
preparations  for  it,  they  sustained  a  very  considerable  loss. 

The  other  occasion,  referred  to  in  a  previous  chapter,  that 
Orimaldi  had  the  honour  of  conversing  with  the  Duke  of  York, 
was  in  1824,  when  _  his  Eoyal  Highness  took  the  chair  at  the 
Theatrical  Fund  dinner,  and  kindly  inquiring  after  his  health, 
of  some  one  who  sat  near  him,  desired  to  see  him.  He  was  offi- 
ciating as  one  of  the  stewards,  but  was  of  course  surprised  at 
the  Duke's  wish,  and  immediately  presented  himself.  He 
received  him  with  great  kindness,  and  hearing  from  his  own 
lips  that  his  infirmities  had  compelled  him  to  relinquish  the 
exercise  of  his  profession,  said,  he  was  extremely  sorry  to  hear 
him  say  so,  but  heartily  trusted,  notwithstanding,  that  he  might 
recover  yet,  for  his  loss  would  be  a  "national  calamity."  He 
added,  when  Grimaldi  expressed  his  acknowledgments,  "  I  re- 
member your  father  well :  he  was  a  funny  man,  and  taught  me 

*  Son  of  the  proprietor  of  the  well-known  "  Boiled  Beef  House"  in  the  Old 


and  some  of  my  sisters  to  dance.  If  ever  I  can  "be  of  any  service 
to  you,  Grimaldi,  call  upon  me  freely." 

In  this  year  Grimaldi  was  much  troubled  by  pecuniary  matters, 
and  the  conduct  of  his  son.  He  was  living  on  the  few  hundred 
pounds  he  had  put  by,  selling  out  his  stock^  spending  the  pro- 
ceeds, and  consequently  rising  every  morning  a  poorer  man. 
His  son,  who  had  now  a  good  salary  and  was  rising  in  his  pro- 
fession, suddenly  left  his  home,  and,  to  the  heart-rending  grief 
of  his  father  and  mother,  abandoned  himself  to  every  species  of 
wild  debauchery  and  riot.  His  father  wrote  to  him,  imploring 
him  to  return,  and  offering  to  make  every  arrangement  that 
could  conduce  to  his  comfort,  but  he  never  answered  the  letter, 
and  kept  on  his  headlong  course.  This  shock  was  a  heavy  one 
indeed,  and,  in  Grimaldi's  weak  and  debilitated  state,  almost 
broke  his  heart. 

For  four  years  Grimaldi  never  saw  any  more  of  his  son,  save 
occasionally  on  the  stage  of  Sadler's  Wells,  where  he  was  en- 
gaged at  a  salary  of  five  pounds  per  week ;  or  when  he  met  him 
in  the  street,  when  the  son  would  cross  over  the  road  to  get  out 
of  the  way.  Nor  during  all  this  time  did  he  receive  a  single  line 
from  him,  except  in  1825.  He  had  written  to  the  young  man, 
describing  the  situation  to  which  he  was  reduced,  and  the 
poverty  with  which  he  was  threatened,  reminding  him  that  be- 
tween the  two  theatres  he  was  now  earning  thirteen  pounds  per 
week,  and  requesting  his  assistance  with  some  pecuniary  aid. 
To  this  application  he  at  first  returned  no  reply ;  but  several  of 
Grimaldi's  friends  having  expressed  a  very  strong  opinion  to 
him  on  the  subject,  he  at  length  returned  the  following  note : — 

"  DEAR  FATHEK,— At  present  I  am  in  difficulties ;  but  as 
long  as  I  have  a  shilling,  you  shall  have  half.' 

This  assurance  looked  well  enough  upon  paper,  but  had  no 
other  merit ;  for  he  never  sent  his  father  a  farthing,  nor  did  he 
again  see  him  (save  that  he  volunteered  his  services  at  two 
farewell  benefits,)  until  he  came  to  his  door  one  night  in  1828, 
and  hardily  claimed  shelter  and  food. 

In  1825  the  proprietors  of  Sadler's  Wells  resolved  to  open  the 
theatre  on  their  joint  account,  with  which  view  they  secured 
the  services  of  Mr.  T.  Dibdin  as  acting-manager.  It  was 
determined  at  a  meeting  of  proprietors,  that  it  would  be  advan- 
lageous  to  the  property  if  one  of  their  number  were  resident  on 
the  premises  to  assist  Mr.  Dibdin,  and  regulate  the  expendi- 
ture. As  Grimaldi  had  nothing  to  do,  it  was  proposed  in  the 
kindest  manner  by  Mr.  Jones.  *  one  of  the  shareholders,  that  he 
should  fill  the  situation,  at  a  salary  of  four  pounds  per  week. 

*  Mr.  Jones  married  Mr.  Keeve's  only  daughter,  and  thus  became  possessed 
of  the  share  in  the  Sadler's  Wells  Theatre  that  had  been  purchased  by  that 
eminent  musician. 


It  need  scarcely  be  said  that  lie  accepted  this  proposal  with, 
great  gratitude.  They  commenced  the  season  with  much  spirit, 
turning  the  old  dwelling-house  partly  into  wine-rooms  accord- 
ing to  the  old  fashion,  and  partly  into  a  saloon,  box-office,  and 
passages.  The  dresses  of  the  opening  piece  were  of  a  gorgeous 
description,  and  every  new  play  was  got  up  with  the  same 
magnificence.  They  also  determined  to  take  half-price,  which 
had  never  before  been  _  done  at  that  house,  and  to  play  the 
twelve  months  through,  instead  of  confining  the  season  to  six ; 
this  last  resolution  originating  in  the  immense  growth  of  the 
neighbourhood  around  the  theatre,  which  in  Grimaldi's  time 
had  gradually  been  transformed  from  a  pretty  suburban  spot 
into  the  maze  of  streets  and  squares  and  closely-clustered 
houses  which  it  now  presents.  These  arrangements  were  all 
very  extensive  and  speculative  ;  but  they  overstepped  the 
bounds  of  moderation  in  point  of  expense,  and  the  season  ended 
with  a  loss  of  1,400Z. 

JSText^year  they  pursued  a  different  plan,  and  reduced  their 
expenditure  in  every  department.  This  reduction  was  super- 
intended by  Grimaldi,  and  the  very  first  salary  he  cut  down 
was  his  own,  from  which  he  struck  off  at  once  two  pounds  per 
week.  They  tried  pony-races  too  in  the  area  attached  to  the 
theatre,  and,  so  variable  is  theatrical  property,  cleared  a  sum 
equal  to  their  losses  of  the  preceding  year,  between  Easter  and 
Whitsuntide  alone.  The  following  season*  was  also  a  success- 
ful one,  and  at  length  he  began  to  think  he  should  gain  some- 
thing by  the  proprietorship. 

It  was  about  this  time,  or  rather  before,  that  Grrimaldi  was 
subpoenaed  as  a  witness  in  an  action  between  two  theatrical 
gentlemen,  of  whom  Mr.  Glossop  was  one,  when  his  smart 
parrying  of  a  remark  from  a  counsel  engaged  in  the  case  occa- 
sioned much  laughter  in  court. 

On  his  name  being  called,  and  his  appearing  in  the  witness- 
box,  there  was  some  movement  in  the  court,  which  was  very 
crowded,  the  people  being  anxious  to  catch  a  sight  of  a  witness 
whose  name  was  so  familiar.  Sir  James  Scarlett, f  who  was  to 
examine  him,  rose  as  he  made  his  appearance,  and,  looking  at 
him  with  great  real  .or  apparent  interest,  said,  "Dear  me! 
Pray,  sir,  are  you  the  great  Mr.  Grimaldi,  formerly  of  Covent 
Garden  Theatre?" 

The  witness  felt  greatly  confused  at  this  inquiry,  especially 
as  it  seemed  to  excite  to  a  still  higher  pitch  the  curiosity  of  the 
spectators.  He  reddened  slightly,  and  replied,  "  I  used  to  be  a 
pantomime  actor,  sir,  at  Covent  Garden  Theatre." 

•Young  Joe  had  a  benefit  this  season,  on  September  21,  1826,  when  Blanche's 
melo-drama,  entitled,  "  The  Caliph  and  the  Cadi,"  was  revived,  and  in  order  to 
introduce  both  father  and  son,  a  new  scene  and  a  duet  were  written  by  Mr. 
Dibdin  at  Grimaldi's  desire;  their  appearance  in  the  same  piece  produced 
considerable  effect. 

t  Afterwards  Lord  Abinger. 


*'  Yes,"  said  Sir  James  Scarlett,  "  I  recollect  you  well.  You 
are  a  very  clever  man,  sir."  He  paused  for  a  few  seconds,  and, 
looking  up  in  his  face,  said, 

"  And  so  you  really  are  Grimaldi,  are  you  ?" 
This  ^vas  more  embarrassing  than  the  other  question,  and 
Grimaldi  feeling  it  so,  fldgetted  about  in  the  box,  and  grew 
redder  and  redder. 

"  Don't  blush,  Mr.  Grimaldi,  pray  don't  blush ;  there  is  not 
the  least  occasion  for  blushing,"  said  Sir  James  Scarlett. 

"I  don't  blush,  sir,"  rejoined  the  witness. 

"  I  assure  you,  you  need  not  blush  so." 

'*  I  beg  your  pardon,  sir,  I  really  am  not  blushing,"  repeated 
the  witness,  who  beginning  to  grow  angry,  repeated  it  with  so 
red  a  face,  that  the  spectators  tittered  aloud. 

"  I  assure  you,  Mr.  Grimaldi,"  said  Sir  James  Scarlett, 
smiling,  "that  you  are  blushing  violently." 

"  I  beg  your  pardon,  sir,"  replied  Grimaldi,  "  but  you  are 
really  quite  mistaken.  The  flush  which  you  observe  on  my 
face  is  a  Scarlet  one,  I  admit ;  but  I  assure  you  that  it  is 
nothing  more  than  a  reflection  from  your  own." 

The  people  in  the  court  sliouted  with  laughter,  and  Sir  James 
Scarlett  joining  in  their  mirth,  proceeded  without  further 
remark  with  the  business  of  the  case, 




Great  kindness  of  Miss  Kelly  towards  Grimaldi — His  farewell  benefit  at  Sadler's 
Wells  ;  last  appearance  and  farewell  address — He  makes  preparations  for  one 
more  appearance  at  Covent  Garden,  but,  in  a  conversation  with  Mr.  Charles 
Kemble,  meets  with  a  disappointment—In  consequence  of  Lord  Segrave's 
benevolent  interference,  a  benefit  is  arranged  for  him  at  Drury  Lane— His 
last  interview  with  Mr.  Charles  Kemble  and  Fawcett. 

IN  February,  1828,  a  very  highly-esteemed  and  kind  friend  to 
Grimaldi,  and  an  actress  of  deserved  popularity,  whose  wonder- 
ful talents  have  gained  for  her  universal  praise  and  an  ample 
fortune,  and  whose  performances  have  been  for  many  years  the 
delight  and  admiration  of  the  public — Miss  Kelly, — called  at 
his  house  to  inquire  after  his  health,  and  to  ascertain  whether  it 
was  probable  that  he  would  ever  again  be  enabled  to  appear 
upon  the  stage.  He  replied,  with  natural  emotion,  that  he 
could  no  longer  dare  even  to  hope  that  he  should  ever  act  more. 

"  Then,"  asked  Miss  Kelly,  "why  not  take  a  farewell  benefit? 
I  dare  say  you  are  not  so  rich  as  to  despise  the  proceeds  of  such 
an  undertaking." 

Grimaldi  shook  his  head,  and  replying  he  was  much  poorer 
than  anybody  supposed,  proceeded  to  lay  before  her  his  exact 
position,  not  omitting  to  point  out,  that  whenever  Sadler's 
Wells  was  again  let  by  the  proprietors,  he  would  certainly  lose 
his  situation,  and  thus  be  deprived  of  his  sole  dependence.  As 
to  taking  a  benefit,  he  said,  he  felt  so  ill  and  depressed,  that  he 
could  not  venture  to  undergo  the  labour  of  getting  one  up,  far 
less  would  his  pecuniary  means  warrant  his  incurring  the 
chance  of  a  loss. 

"Leave  it  all  to  me,"  said  Miss  Kelly,  "and  I'll  arrange 
pretty  nearly  everything  for  you  without  a  moment's  loss  of 
time.  There  must  be  two  benefits,  one  at  Sadler's  Wells,  and 
the  other  at  Covent  Garden.  The  former  benefit  must  take 
place  first,  so  you  go  and  consult  the  proprietors  upon  the 
subject  at  once,  and  I'll  lose  no  time  in  furthering  your  inte- 
rests elsewhere." 

The  promptitude  and^  decision  which  Miss  Kelly  so  kindly 
evinced,  infused  something  of  a  similar  spirit  into  the  invalid, 
He  promised  that  he  would  see  the  proprietors  immediately ; 
and,  in  spite  of  a  severe  attack  of  spasms,  which  almost 
deprived  him  of  speech,  went  that  same  night  to  Sadler's  Wells, 
and  _  stated  ^his  intention  to  take  a  farewell  benefit.  He  was 
received  with  the  greatest  friendship  and  liberality :  they  at 
once  entered  into  his  views,  and  gave  an  unanswerable  proof  of 


the  sincerity  with  which  they  did  so,  hy  offering  him  the  use  of 
the  house  gratuitously.  Monday,  March  the  17th,  was  fixed 
for  the  occasion  ;  and  no  sooner  was  it  known  decidedly  when 
the  benefit  was  to  take  place,  than  Mr.  T.  Dibdin,  assembling 
the  company,  acquainted  them  with  the  circumstance,  and 
suggested  that  their  offering  to  play  gratuitously  would  be  both 
a  well-timed  compliment  and  a  real  assistance.  The  hint  was 
no  sooner  given  than  it  was  most  cheerfully,  responded  to :  the 
performers  immediately  proffered  their  services,  the  band  did 
the  same,  and  every  person  in  the  theatre  was  anxious  and 
eager  to  render  every  assistance  in  his  or  her  power,  and  to 
"  put  their  shoulders  to  the  wheel,  in  behalf  of  poor  old  Joe." 

The  following  is  a  copy  of  the  bill  of  performance  put  forth  on 
this  occasion : — 



And  Last  Appearance  at  this  Theatre. 
Monday,  March  17,  1828. 

"  It  is  most  respectf  ullv  announced  that  Mr.  Grimaldi,  from 
severe  and  incessant  indisposition,  which  has  oppressed  him 
upwards  of  four  years,  and  continues  without  any  hope  of 
amelioration,  finds  himself  compelled  to  quit  the  profession  in 
which,  from  almost  infancy,  he  has  been  honoured  with  as  great 
a  share  of  patronage  and  indulgence  as  ever  fell  to  the  lot  of 
any  candidate  for  public  favour.  Nor  can  he  quit  a  theatre 
where  his  labours  commenced,  and  were  for  so  many  years 
sanctioned,  without  attempting  the  honour  of  personally  ex- 
pressing his  gratitude ;  and  however  inadequate  he  may  prove 
to  paint  the  sincerity  of  his  feelings,  it  is  his  intention  to  offer 
an  address  of  thanks  to  his  friends  and  patrons,  and  conclude 
his  services  with  the  painful  duty  of  bidding  them 


"  The  entertainments  will  commence  with  the  successful 
romance  of  *  Sixes,  or  the  Mend ;'  Hock,  (a  drunken  prisoner,) 
by  Mr.  Grimaldi.  After  which,  the  favourite  burletta  of 
*  Humphrey  Clinker ;'  to  which  will  be  added  the  popular 
farce  of  '  Wives  and  Partners ;'  and  the  whole  to  conclude  with 
a  grand  Masquerade  on  the  stage,  in  the  course  of  which  several 
novelties  will  be  presented :  Mr.  Elackmore  on  the  corde  volante; 
Mr.  Walbourn's  dance  as  *  Dusty  Bob  ;'  Mr.  Campbell's  song  of 
'  Bound  'Prentice  to  a  Waterman ;'  Mrs.  Searle's  skipping-rope 
dance ;  Mr.  Payne's  juggling  evolutions ;  and  the  celebrated 
dance  between  Mr.  J.  S.  Grimaldi  and  Mr.  Ellar.  After  which, 
Mr.  Grimaldi  will  deliver  his  farewell  address  :  and  the  whole 
will  conclude  with  a  brilliant  display  of  fireworks,  expressive  of 


The  house  was  crowded  to  suffocation  on  the  night.    He  per- 


formed  the  trifling  part  for  which  he  had  been  announced  in 
the  first  piece,  with  considerable  difficulty,  but  immense  appro- 
bation, and  in  the  stage  of  the  performances  in  which  it  was 
announced  in  the  bills  of  the  day,  came  forward  to  deliver  his 
Farewell  Address,  which  ran  thus  : — 

"Ladies  and  Gentlemen,— I  appear  before  you  this  evening 
for  the  last  time  at  this  theatre.  Doubtless,  there  are  many 
persons  present  who  think  that  I  am  a  very  aged  man :  I  have 
now  an  opportunity  of  convincing  them  to  the  contrary.  I  was 
born  on  the  18th  of  December,  1779,*  and,  consequently,  on  the 
18th  of  last  December  attained,  the  age  of  forty-eight. 

"  At  a  very  early  age — before  that  of  three  years,  f  I  was 
introduced  to  the  public  by  my  father  at  this  theatre  ;  and  ever 
since  that  period  have  I  held  a  situation  in  this  establishment. 
Yes,  ladies  and  gentlemen,  I  have  been  engaged  at  this  theatre 
for  five-and-forty  years. 

"By  strict  attention,  perseverance,  and  exertion,  did  I  arrive 
at  the  height  of  my  profession,  and,  proud  I  am  to  acknowledge, 
have  ofttimes  been  honoured  with  your  smiles,  approbation,  and 
support.  It  is  now  three  years  since  I  have  taken  a  regular 
engagement,  owing  to  extreme  and  dangerous  indisposition: 
with  patience  have  I  waited  in  ^  hopes  my  health  might  once 
more  be  re-established,  and  I  again  meet  your  smiles  as  before ; 
— but,  I  regret  to  say,  there  is  little,  or,  in  fact,  no  improvement 
perceivable,  and  it  would  therefore  now  be  folly  in  me  ever  to 
think  of  again  returning  to  my  professional  duties.  I  could 
not,  however,  leave  this  theatre  without  returning  my  grateful 
thanks  to  my  friends  and  patrons,  and  the  public  ;  and  now  do 
I  venture  to  offer  them,  secure  in  the  conviction  that  they  will 
not  be  slighted  or  deemed  utterly  unworthy  of  acceptance. 

"  To  the  proprietors  of  this  theatre,  the  performers,  the  gen- 
tlemen of  the  band — in  fact,  to  every  individual  connected  with 
it,  I  likewise  owe  and  offer  my  sincere  thanks  for  their  assist- 
ance this  evening.  And  now,  ladies  and  gentlemen,  it  only 
remains  for  me  to  utter  one  dreadful  word,  ere  I  depart— rare- 
well  !— God  bless  you  all !  may  you  and  your  families  ever 
enjoy  the  blessings  of  health  and  happiness  ! — Farewell !" 

He  was  received  and  listened  to  in  the  kindest  and  most 
encouraging  manner ;  but  his  spirits  met  with  so  severe  a  shock 
in  bidding  a  formal  farewell  to  his  friends,  that  he  did  not 
entirely  recover  from  the  effects  of  it  for  some  days,  and  so  com- 
pletely dreaded  going  through  a  similar  ordeal  at  Covent  Garden, 
that  had  not  Miss  Kelly  kept  him  firm  to  the  task,  he  would  have 
abandoned  his  intention  with  regard  to  the  latter  place  altogether. 

The  receipts  of  this  benefit  were  230Z.  ;  but  he  received  a  great 
number  of  anonymous  letters,  containing  remittances,  which 
amounted  in  the  whole  to  851.  more  ;  so  that  he  cleared  by  the 

*  He  was  born  December  18,  1778. 

t  At  Easter,  1781.    Joe  waa  then  but  two  years  and  four  months  old. 


night's  performance,  a  total  of  31-5^.,  which  was  a  well-timed 
and  most  fortunate  assistance  to  him. 

Some  short  time  after  this  evening,  Mr.  T.  Dibdin  left  Sadler's 
"Wells.  He  was  succeeded  in  the  capacity  of  stage-manager  by 
Mr.  Campbell,  who  retained  the  situation  with  credit  to  himself 
and  satisfaction  to  the  proprietors  for  several  years  :  remaining 
in  it,  in  fact,  until  the  establishment  was  again  let. 

On  the  25th  of  March,  being  a  little  recovered,  and  having  at 
last  made  up  his  mind  to  take  the  second  benefit,  Grimaldi 
walked  to  Co  vent  Garden,  and  having  been  warmly  welcomed 
by  the  performers,  went  to  Mr.  Charles  Kemble' s  room,  and  was 
received  by  him  in  the  most  friendly  manner. 

"  Well,  Joe,"  said  he,  "I  hope  you  have  come  to  say  that  you 
feel  able  to  be  with  us  again  ?" 

"  Indeed,  my  dear  sir,  it  is  unfortunately  quite  the  reverse  ; 
for  I  am  come  to  tell  you  that  I  never  shall  act  more." 

"I  am  very  sorry  to  hear  you  say  so,  Joe ;  I  have  been  in 
hopes  it  would  be  otherwise,"  returned  Mr.  Kemble. 

"  We  have  known  each  other  a  good  many  years,  sir,"  said 

"  We  have  indeed,  Joe, — many  years !" 

"And  I  think,  sir,"  continued  Grimaldi,  "that  if  it  were  in 
your  power,  you  would  willingly  serve  me  ?" 

"  Try  me,  Joe,  try  me  !" 

He  then  stated  his  intention  of  taking  a  farewell  benefit  at 
Covent  Garden,  and  requested  Mr.  Kemble's  assistance  in 
obtaining  the  use  of  the  house,  if  possible,  at  a  low  price  ;  but 
if  not,  then  upon  the  usual  terms. 

Mr.  Kemble  listened  until  he  had  finished,  and  said,  "  My 
dear  Joe,  I  perfectly  understand  you ;  and  if  the  theatre  were 
solely  mine,  I  should  say,  'Take  it — 'tis  yours,  and  without 
charge  at  all :'  but,  unfortunately,  our  theatre  is  in  Chancery, 
and  nothing  can  be  done  without  the  consent  of  others.  How- 
ever, Joe,  the  proprietors  meet  every  Tuesday,  and  I  will 
mention  it  to  them.  So  after  Tuesday  you  shall  hear  from  me." 

He  thanked  Mr.  Kemble,  and  they  parted.  He  awaited  the 
arrival  of  the  day  fixed  in  great  anxiety;  but  it  came  and 
passed,  and  so  did  another  Tuesday,  and  several  more  days, 
without  any  intelligence  arriving  to  relieve  his  suspense.  Seeing 
it  announced  in  the  papers  that  Mr.  Kemble  was  about  to 
proceed  to  Edinburgh,  to  act  there,  he  wrote  a  note  to  him, 
reminding  him  of  what  had  passed  between  them,  and  request- 
ing a  reply.  This  was  on  the  13th  of  April.  In  the  evening  of 
the  same  day  he  received  an  answer,  not  from  Mr.  Kemble  him- 
self, but  from  Mr.  llobertson,  the  respected  treasurer  of  the 
theatre,  which  ran  thus : 

you,  in 

I  am  directed  by  the  proprietors  of  this  theatre  to  acquaint 
,  in  reply  to  your  application  relative  to  a  benefit,  that  they 


much  regret  that  the  present  situation  of  the  theatre  with  regard 
to  Chancery  proceedings  will  prevent  the  possibility  of  their 
accommodating  your  wishes." 

The  contents  of  this  letter,  of  course,  greatly  disappointed  and 
vexed  Grimaldi,  who,  remembering  the  number  of  years  he  had 
been  connected  with  the  theatre,  and  the  great  favourite  he  had 
been  with  the  public,  could  not  help  deeming  it  somewhat  harsh 
and  unkind  conduct  on  the  part  of  the  proprietors  to  refuse  him 
the  house  for  one  night,  for  which,  of  course,  he  would  have  paid. 

Mr.  Price  was  the  lessee  of  Drury  Lane  at  this  time,  and  once 
or  twice  Grimaldi  thought  of  applying  to  him,  but  fearing  it 
would  be  useless,  dismissed  the  idea.  In  this  state  of  indecision 
two  or  three  weeks  passed  away,  when  one  day  he  received  a 
note  from  Mr.  Dunn,  the  Drury  Lane  treasurer,  requesting  him 
to  attend  at  the  theatre  at  twelve  o'clock  next  day,  as  Mr.  Price 
wished  to  see  him.  _  On  complying  with  this  very  unexpected 
invitation,  he  was  informed  by  Mr.  Dunn,  that  the  lessee  had 
been  compelled  to  meet  another  party  on  business,  and  therefore 
could  not  wait  to  see  him  ;  but  that  he  was  deputed  to  say,  that 
he  had  been  apprised  of  Grimaldi' s  wish  to  take  a  benefit,  and 
that  the  theatre  was  at  his  service  for  the  evening  of  Friday, 
June  27th,  1828,  the  last  night  but  one  of  the  season.  "  That," 
added  Mr.  Dunn,  "  is  unfortunately  the  only  evening  we  can 
offer  you.  Had  Mr.  Price  known  earlier  of  your  wishes,  you 
would  have  had  an  extended  choice  of  nights,  and  he  would 
have  felt  happy  in  obliging  so  distinguished  a  veteran." 

Much  delighted  with  this  politeness  and  consideration,  he 
gratefully  accepted  the  theatre  for  the  night  mentioned.  He 
was  much  puzzled  at  the  time  to  think  who  could  have  men- 
tioned the  circumstance  to  Mr.  Price,  and  befriended  him  so 
greatly ;  on  mature  consideration,  however,  he  had  little  doubt 
that  it  was  Lord  Segrave  to  whom  he  was  obliged,  for  when  he 
told  Miss  Kelly  that  he  had  been  offered  Drury  Lane,  she  re- 
membered Lord  Segrave  having  expressed  great  surprise  when 
she  told  him  he  had  been  refused  Covent  Garden,  and  his  having 
added,  that  "  he  should  see  Price  shortly." 

Every  assistance  that  could  be  afforded  him  in  arranging  his 
benefit  was  cheerfully  rendered.  To  three  gentlemen  in  parti- 
cular, for  the  valuable  and  cordial  aid  they  rendered  to  the  inde« 
fatigable  exertions  of  Miss  Kelly,  he  was  under  deep  and  lasting 
obligations.  These  were,  Mr.  James  Wallack,  Mr.  W.  Barry* 
more,  and  Mr.  Peake,  scarcely  less  a  favourite  with  the  public 
than  with  the  members  of  the  profession,  to  the  literature  of 
which  his  abilities  and  humour  have  been  long  and  successfully 

About  the  middle  of  June,  hearing  that  Mr.  Charles  Kemble 
had  returned  from  the  North,  Grimaldi  resolved  to  call  upon 
him,  and  to  thank  him  for  the  exertions  which  he  felt  assured 
he  had  made  relative  to  his  bei..ut.  He  had  another  object  in 


view, — which,  was,  to  apprise  him  that  he  had  entered  into  en- 
gagements of  a  satisfactory  nature  at  Drury  Lane ;  which  intel- 
ligence he  hoped  would  afford  him  unmitigated  satisfaction, 
after  the  strong  desire  he  had  always  expressed  for  his  prosperity. 

Mr.  Charles  Kemble  was  alone  when  Grimaldi  was  shown  up 
to  his  room :  he  said,  that  having  recently  heard  Mr.  Kemble 
had  returned  from  Scotland,  he  had  determined  to  lose  no  time 
in  calling  to  thank  him  for  the  exertidns  which  he  had  no  doubt 
he  had  made  to  enable  him  to  take  a  benefit  at  Coyent  Garden. 
Although  his  kindness  was  unavailing,  he  was  anxious  to  assure 
him  that  he  perfectly  appreciated  it.  He  then  went  on  to  say, 
that  Mr.  Price  had  in  the  handsomest  manner  offered  the  use  of 
Drury  Lane  Theatre,  at  which  he  was  to  take  a  benefit  ^  on  the 
27th ;  and  that  he  had  every  reason  to  believe,  from  the  interest 
which  was  making  for  him,  that  it  would  be  a  very  great  one. 

Mr.  Kemble  was  evidently  surprised  to  hear  this,  and  instead 
of  manifesting  the  gratification  which  Grimaldi  had  expected, 
evinced  feelings  of  a  directly  opposite  nature.  At  length  he  ex- 
claimed; "  Take  a  benefit  at  Drury  Lane !" 

"  Yes,  sir,"  replied  Grimaldi ;  "  and  knowing  that  you  feel  a 
great  interest  in  my  success,  I  have  called  upon  you  to  thank 
you  for  all  your  past  kindness,  and  to  inform  you  what  I  intend 
doing  on  my  farewell  night." 

With  these  words,  he  placed  in  Mr.  Kemble's  hands  an  an- 
nounce-bill,  of  which  we  subjoin  a  copy  These  bills  were  after- 
wards recalled,  for  reasons  which  will  presently  appear. 



"  On  Friday,  June  27,  1828. 

0  It  is  respectfully  announced,  that  Mr.  Grimaldi,  after 
more  than  four  years  of  severe  and  unremitting  indisposition, 
which  continues  ^  without  hope  of  alleviation^  is  compelled, 
finally,  to  relinquish  a  profession  in  which,  from  infancy,  he  has 
been  honoured  with  as  liberal  a  share  of  public  patronage  as  ever 
has  been  uncorded  to  candidates  of  much  higher  pretensions. 

"  Numerous  patrons  having  expressed  surprise  that  Mr 
Grimaldi's  benefit  did  not  take  place  at  the  Theatre  Royal, 
Covent  Garden,  he  takes  the  liberty  of  stating,  that  after  bid- 
ding farewell  to  his  friends  and  supporters  at  Sadler's  Wells 
(the  scene  of  his  favoured  exertions  from  the  early  age  of  three 
years),  he  applied  to  the  present  directors  of  Covent  Garden 
Theatre,  who,  in  the  kindest  manner,  exprw*sed  their  regret 
that  the  well-known  situation  of  the  theatre  precluded  the 
possibility  of  indulging  their  strong  inclination  to  comply  with 
the  request  he  had  ventured  to  prefer.  On  transferring  the 
application  to  Mr.  Price,  the  lessee  of  the  Theatre  Royal,  Drury 
Lane,  Mr.  Grimaldi  has  the  pleasure  to  say,  that  it  was  acceded 


to  with  a  celerity  which  enhanced  the  obligation,  and  demands 
his  most  sincere  "acknowledgment. 

"Mr.  Grimaldi  made  his  first  appearance*  at  the  Theatre 
Boyal,  Drury  Lane,  where  he  continued  twenty-four  years, 
and,  hut  for  a  very  trifling  misunderstanding,  might  have 
retained  his  engagement  to  the  present  time  :  it  is,  however, 
most  grateful  to  his  feelings  to  finish  his  public  labours  on  the 
spot  where  they  commenced,  and  where  for  nearly  a  quarter  of 
a  century  his  exertions  were  fostered  by  public  indulgence,  and 
stimulated  by  public  applause,  f 

"  To  many  anxious  friends  who,  from  a  genuine  spirit  of 
good-will,  have  inquired  the  cause  why,  during  so  long  a  period 
of  professional  exertion,  Mr.  Grimaldi  has  not  been  able  to 
realize  a  competency  that  might  have  precluded  the  necessity 
of  this  appeal,  he  can  only  plead  the  expenses  attendant  on 
infirmities,  produced  by  exhausting  and  laborious  duties,  the 
destructive  burthen  of  which  were  felt  some  years  before  he 
finally  yielded  to  their  pressure,  and  which  at  length  compelled 
him  to  relax  his  exertions  at  the  period  when  ability  to  con- 
tinue them  would  have  insured  him  a  comfortable  indepen- 
dence. However  inadequate  he  may  prove  to  the  painful  yet 
pleasing  endeavour  to  express  _  personally  his  gratitude  on  the 
night  of  his  retreat,  it  is  his  intention  to  offer  an  address  of 
thanks,  in  which,  though  mere  words  may  not  be  equal  to  paint 
the  depth  and  sincerity  of  his  feelings,  he  will  hope  to  gain 
credit  for  the  heartfelt  sensation  of  dutiful  respect  which  ac- 
companies his  last  farewell." 

Mr.  Kemble  read  the  bill  through  very  attentively,  and  laid 
it  gently  upon  the  table  without  saying  a  word,  but  still  look- 
ing very  much  displeased.  Grimaldi,  not  knowing  very  well 
what  to  say,  remained  silent,  and  nothing  was  said  for  a  minute 
or  two,  when  Fawcett  entered  the  room. 

"Here,  Fawcett,"  said  Mr.  Kemble,  "here's  a  bill  for  you: 
read  that." 

*  Joe's  assertion  that  "  he  made  hia  first  appearance  at  Drnry  Lane,  where  he 
continued  twenty- four  years,"  is  very  questionable ;  he,  in  fact,  said  the  con- 
trary in  his  farewell  address  at  Sadler's  Wells,  at  which  theatre  it  is  positive  he 
appeared  at  Easter,  1781.  Sheridan's  "Kobinson  Crusoe"  was  produced  in 
January  of  that  year,  and  twenty -four  years  would  carry  the  time  on  to  January, 
1805,  but  his  last  performance  at  Drury  Lane  was  on  November  9th  in  that  year, 
and  admitting  the  generally  received  belief  of  bis  debut  "in  Robinson  Crusoe," 
his  continuing  at  Drury  Lane  would  have  been  twenty-five  years,  not  twenty- 

t  To  his  old  associate,  Norman,  the  Pantaloon,  Grimaldi,  in  a  letter  dated 
April  23,  1829,  writes, — "  I  suppose  you  know  I  have  taken  my  farewell  of  the 
public,  both  at  the  Wells  and,  lastly,  at  Drury  Lane,  they  having  refused  me 
at  Covent  Garden — so  much  for  my  long  and  faithful  services.  Oh !  my  poor  old 
master,  Mr.  Harris ;  God  bless  him  !  had  he  been  still  in  possession,  I  should 
not  have  asked  such  a  favour  a  second  time.  I  am  now  quite  a  retired  gentleman, 
haviug  only  the  Wells  to  look  after,  and  that  is  of  sotrifling  a  nature,  it  does  not 
put  me  the  least  out  of  my  way." 


Fawcett  read  it  in  profound  silence,  and  when  lie  had  done 
so,  looked  as  if  he  could  not  at  all  understand  what  was  going 
forward,  or  what  he  ought  to  do.  At  length  he  asked  what  he 
was  to  infer  from  it,  and  Mr.  Kemble  was  about  to  reply,  when 
Grimaldi  interrupted  him. 

"I  beg  your  pardon,  sir,"  he  said,  "but  if  Mr.  Fawcett  is  to 
be  appealed  to  in  this  business,  it  is  but  just  that,  before  he 
expresses  any  opinion  upon  it,  he  should  understand  all  the 

With  this,  he  proceeded  to  detail  them  as  briefly  as  he  could. 
When  he  had  finished,  Mr.  Kemble  said,  with  an  air  of  great 
vexation,  "  Why  did  you  not  say,  that  if  you  could  not  take  a 
benefit  here,  you  would  do  so  at  the  other  house  !  I  declare 
you  should  have  had  a  night  for  nothing,  sooner  than  you 
should  have  gone  there." 

Although  this  remark  was  very  unexpected,  Grimaldi  made 
no  further  reply  than  that  he  had  never  thought  of  applying  to 
Mr.  Price,  but  that  that  gentleman,  he  presumed  at  the  solici- 
tation of  some  unknown  friend,  had  made  an  offer  to  him ;  he 
then  begged  Mr.  Fawcett,  as  he  now  knew  all,  to  express  his 
opinion  upon  the  matter. 

"  Why,  really,"  said  that  gentleman,  "  had  I  been  situated  as 
Grimaldi  has  been,  I  should  certainly  have  acted  as  he  has 
done.  If  one  theatre  could  not  accommodate  me  and  another 
could,  I  should  feel  no  hesitation  in  accepting  an  offer  from  the 
latter.  However,"  added  Mr.  Fawcett,  after  this  very  manly 
and  straightforward  avowal,  "  I  think  it  would  be  best, 
Grimaldi,  and  I  hope  you  will  take  my;  advice,  not  to  send  out 
this  bill.  It  might  be  deemed  offensive,  and  cannot,  as  I  see, 
be  productive  of  any  good  whatever." 

Grimaldi  thanked  him,  and  expressed  his  intention  of  acting 
upon  his  opinion.  Addressing  Mr.  Kemble,  he  said,  that  from 
what  had  just  before  fallen  from  him,  it  appeared  that  if  he  had 
thought  proper,  he  (Grimaldi)  might  have  had  Covent  Garden 
for  his  benefit,  even  gratuitously ;  but  that  presuming  he  had 
not  the  power  of  taking  a  benefit  at  Prury  Lane,  he  had  refused 
him,  which  was  not  the  conduct  of  a  friend,  and  was  very 
unlike  the  treatment  he  had  expected  to  receive.  He  then  left 
the  room,  and  never  saw  either  gentleman  again. 

Upon  cool  reflection  he  was  inclined  to  consider  that  Mr. 
Kemble  had  some  private  and  very  good  reasons,  arising  out  of 
the  management  of  the  theatre,  for  acting  as  he  had  done, 
which  there  is  little  doubt  was  the  case,  as  he  could  have 
neither  had  the  intention  nor  the  wish  to  injure  a  man  whom 
he  invariably  treated  with  kindness  and  courtesy. 

The  stage  has  now  lost  the  services  of  both  these  gentlemen. 
Poor  Fawcett  died  some  time  since,  and  Mr.  Charles  Xemble 
has  retired  from  the  boards  of  which  he  was  so  long,  both  from 
his  public  and  private  character,  a  shining  ornament. 

Tt    9. 



1828  to  1836. 

The  farewell  benefit  at  Drury  Lane — Grimaldi's  last  appearance  and  parting 
address — The  Drury  Lane  Theatrical  Fund,  and  its  prompt  reply  to  his  com- 
munication— Miserable  career  and  death  of  his  son — His  wife  dies,  and  he 
returns  from  Woolwich  (whither  he  had  previously  removed)  to  London — 
His  retirement. 

THE  three  gentlemen  who  were  mentioned  in  conjunction  with 
Miss  Kelly,  in  the  course  of  the  last  chapter,  exerted  themselves 
with  so  much  energy,  that  Grimaldi's  benefit  far  exceeded  his 
most  sanguine  expectations.  In  addition  to  the  most  effective 
company  of  the  theatre,  were  secured  the  services  of  Miss  Kelly, 
and  Madam  Fearon;*  Miss  Fanny  Ayton,  Miss  Love,  f  Mathews, 
Keeley,  and  Bartley,  besides  an  immense  number  of  pantomime 
performers,  who  crowded  to  offer  their  aid,  and  among  whom 
were — Barnes,  Southby,  Bidgway  and  his  two  sons,  and  young 
Grimaldi.  Mr.  James  Wallack  arranged  everything,  and 
exerted  himself  as  much  as  he  could  have  done  if  the  night  had 
been  his  own.  The  announced  bill  ran  thus : — 

On  Friday,  June  27tfi,  1828, 

will  be  performed, 

after  which 

To  be  succeeded  by 

and  concluded  with 


In  which  Mr.  Grimaldi  will  act  clown  in  one  scene,  sing  a  song,  and 

speak  his 

It  was  greatly  in  favour  of  the  benefit,  that  Covent  Garden 
had  closed  the  night  before ;  the  pit  and  galleries  were  com- 
pletely filled  in  less  than  half  an  hour  after  opening  the  doors, 
the  boxes  were  very  good  from  the  first,  and  at  half-price  were 

*  Mrs.  Glossop.  t  Since,  Mrs.  Granby  Calcraft. 


as  crowded  as  the  other  parts  of  the  house.  In  the  last  piece 
Grimaldi  acted  one  scene,  but  being  wholly  unable  to  stand, 
went  through  it  seated  upon  a  chair.  Even  in  this  distressing 
condition  he  retained  enough  of  his  old  humour  to  succeed  in 
calling  down  repeated  shouts  of  merriment  and  laughter.  The 
song,  too,  in  theatrical  language,  "  went"  as  well  as  ever ;  and 
at  length,  when  the  pantomime  approached  its  termination,  he 
made  his  appearance  before  the  audience  in  his  private  dress, 
amidst  thunders  of  applause.  As  soon  as  silence  could  be  ob- 
tained, and  he  could  muster  up  sufficient  courage  to  speak,  he 
advanced  to  the  foot-lights,  and  delivered,  as  well  as  his  emo- 
tions would  permit,  the  following  Farewell  Address . — 

"  Ladies  and  Gentlemen : — In  putting  off  the  clown's  garment, 
allow  me  to  drop  also  the  clown's  taciturnity,  and  address  you 
in  a  few  parting  sentences.  I  entered  early  on  this  course  of 
life,  and  leave  it  prematurely.  Eight-and-forty  years  only 
have  passed  over  my  head — but  I  am  going  as  fast  down  the 
hill  of  life  as  that  older  Joe — John  Anderson.  Like  vaulting  am- 
bition, I  have  overleaped  myself,  and  pay  the  penalty  in  an 
advanced  old  age.  If  I  have  now  any  aptitude  for  tumbling,  it 
is  through  bodily  infirmity,  for  I  am  worse  on  my  feet  than  I 
used  to  be  on  my  head.  It  is  four  years  since  I  jumped  my  last 
jump — filched  my  last  oyster— boiled  my  last  sausage — and  set 
in  for  retirement.  Not  quite  so  well  provided  for,  I  must 
acknowledge,  as  in  the  days  of  my  clownship,  for  then,  I  dare 
say,  some  of  you  remember,  I  used  to  have  a  fowl  in  one  pocket 
and  sauce  for  it  in  the  other. 

"  To-night  has  seen  me  assume  the  motley  for  a  short  time— • 
it  clung  to  my  skin  as  I  took  it  off,  and  the  old  cap  and  bells 
rang  mournfully  as  I  quitted  them  for  ever. 

"  With  the  same  respectful  feelings  as  ever  do  I  find  myself 
in  your  presence — in  the  presence  of  my  last  audience — this 
kindly  assemblage  so  happily  contradicting  the  adage  that  a 
favourite  has  no  friends.  Eor  the  benevolence  that  brought  you 
hither — accept,  ladies  and  gentlemen,  my  warmest  and  most 
grateful  thanks,  and  believe,  that  of  one  and  all,  Joseph  Grimaldi 
takes  a  double  leave,  with  a  farewell  on  his  lips,  and  a  tear  in 
his  eyes. 

"  Earewell !  That  you  and  yours  may  ever  enjoy  that  greatest 
earthly  good — health,  is  the  sincere  wish  of  your  faithful  and 
obliged  servant.  God  bless  you  all !" 

It  was  with  no  trifling  difficulty  that  Grimaldi  reached  the 
conclusion  of  this  little  speech,  although  the  audience  cheered 
loudly,  and  gave  him  every  possible  expression  of  encourage- 
ment and  sympathy.  When  he  had  finished,  he  still  stood  in 
the  same  place,  bewildered  and  motionless,  his  feelings  being  so 
greatly  excited,  that  the  little  power  illness  had  left  wholly 


deserted  him.  In  this  condition  he  stood  for  a  minute  or  two, 
when  Mr.  Harley,  who  was  at  the  side  scene,  commiserating  his 
emotion,  kindly  advanced  and  led  him  off  the  stage,  assisted  by 
his  son.  As  a  token  of  his  respect  and  gratitude,  Grimaldi  took 
off  a  new  wig  which  he  wore  on  the  occasion,  and  presented  it  to 
Mr.  Harley,  together  with  the  original  address,  which  he  held  in 
his  hand.  Our  friend  has  them  both,  carefully  preserved  in  a 
small  museum  of  wigs,  autographs,  portraits,  and  other  memo- 
rials of  the  most  distinguished  men  in  every  branch  of  the  pro- 
fession, of  which  for  upwards  of  twenty-eight  years  he  has  been 
deservedly  one  of  the  most  popular  members. 

Having  been  led  into  a  private  room,  and  strengthened  with 
a  couple  of  glasses  of  Madeira,  Grimaldi  had  to  sustain  another, 
and  a  scarcely  less  severe  trial,  in  receiving  the  farewells  and 
good  wishes  of  his  old  associates.  The  street  was  thronged  with 
people,  who  were  waiting  to  see  him  come  out,  and  as  he  entered 
the  coach,  which  stood  at  the  stage  door,  gave  him  three  hearty 
cheers,  amid  which  he  drove  off.  But  all  was  not  over  yet,  for 
hundreds  followed  the  vehicle  until  it  reached  his  house,  and 
upon  getting  out  he  was  again  hailed  with  a  similar  overwhelm- 
ing shout  of  approbation  and  regard ;  nor  could  the  crowd  be 
prevailed  upon  to  disperse  until  he  had  appeared  on  the  top  of 
the  steps,  and  made  his  farewell  bow. 

Grimaldi  was  too  exhausted  and  nervous,  after  the  trying 
scenes  through  which  he  had  just  passed,  to  make  any  calcula- 
tion that  night  of  what  the  benefit  had  produced ;  but  the  next 
day,  being  somewhat  recovered,  he  entered  into  the  matter,  and 
found  the  result  to  be  as  follows: — The  house  cost  him  210Z.,  the 
printing  70£.  more,  making  the  expenses  280Z.  The  money  taken 
at  the  doors  amounted  to  rather  more  than  400£,  besides  which 
he  sold  15QI.  worth  of  tickets,  making  a  total  of  55QL  Deducting 
the  expenses,  the  clear  profits  of  the  benefit  amounted  to  270/. 

There  was  another  source  of  great  profit,  which  must  not  be 
forgotten,  namely,  the  number  of  anonymous  communications 
Grimaldi  receivea,  enclosing  sums  of  money,  and  wishing  him  a 
happy  retirement.  He  received  six  letters,  each  containing  20Z., 
eleven  containing  10Z.,  and  sixteen  containing  5L  each.  Thus, 
the  amount  forwarded  by  unknown  hands  was  no  less  than  310Z., 
which,  added  to  the  amount  of  profits  just  mentioned,  makes  the 
gross  sum  realized  by  this  last  benefit  580Z.,  besides  the  315?. 
which  he  had  cleared  at  Sadler's  Wells. 

The  highest  tribute  that  can  be  paid  to  those  who  in  secret 
forwarded  their  munificent  donations,  or  to  those  who  rendered 
him  their  valuable  professional  assistance,  or  to  that  large 
number  who  came  forward  to  cheer  the  last  public  moments  of  a 
man  who  had  so  often,  and  so  successfully,  beguiled  their  leisure 
hours,  is,  that  they  smoothed  the  hard  bed  of  premature  and 
crippled  old  age,  and  rendered  the  slow  decline  of  a  life,  scarcely 
in  years  past  its  prime,  peaceful  and  contented.  This  benefit 


closed  his  theatrical  existence,  and  filled  his  heart  with,  deep 
and  lasting  emotions  of  gratitude. 

Only  one  more  circumstance  connected  with  Grimaldi's 
theatrical  existence  remains  to  be  told,  and  to  that  one  we  most 
anxiously  and  emphatically  invite  the  attention  of  all  who  ad- 
mire the  drama — and  what  man  of  thought  or  feeling  does 
not  ? — of  all  those  who  devote  themselves  to  the  cause  of  real 
charity — and  of  all  those  who  now,  reaping  large  gains  from  the 
exercise  of  a  glittering  and  dazzling  profession,  forget  that  youth, 
and  strength  will  not  last  for  ever,  and  that  the  more  intoxi- 
cating their  triumphs  now,  the  more  probable  is  the  advent  of  a 
time  of  adversity  and  decay. 

Counting  over  his  gains,  and  dwelling  upon  his  helpless  state, 
Grimaldi  was  not  long  in  finding  that  even  now,  whenever  his 
little  salary  at  Sadler's  Wells  should  cease,  he  would  not  have 
adequate  means  of  support.  There  was  only  one  source  to 
which  he  could  apply  for  relief,  and  to  that  source  he  at  once 

It  is  well  known  to  all  our  readers,  that  two  charitable  societies 
exist  in  London,  called  the  Drury  Lane  and  Covent  Garden 
Theatrical  Funds.  They  are  distinct  bodies,  but  were  esta- 
blished with  the  same  great  and  benevolent  object.  Every 
actor  who,  throughout  his  engagement  at  _  either  ^  of  the  large 
theatres,  contributes  a  certain  portion  of  his  earnings  to  one  of 
these  funds,  is  entitled,  if  he  should  ever  be  reduced  to  the  neces- 
sity of  seeking  it,  to  an  annuity  in  proportion  to  the  time  for 
which  he  has  contributed.  To  one  of  these  most  excellent  insti- 
tutions,—the  Drury  Lane  Theatrical  Eund,— Grimaldi  had 
belonged  for  more  than  thirty  years,  promoting  its  interests  not 
merely  by  his  subscription,  but  by  every  means  in  his  power. 
Feeling  that  in  his  hour  of  need  and  distress  he  had  some  claim 
upon  its  funds,  he  addressed  the  secretary,  and  stated  the  situa- 
tion to  which  he  was  reduced.  Early  on  the  following  morning 
he  was  visited  by  the  gentleman  to  whom  he  had  applied,  who 
informed  him  that  he  was  awarded  a  pension  of  100Z.  a-year  for 
the  remainder  of  his  life,  and  that  he  was  deputed  to  pay  him 
immediately  the  amount  of  one  quarter  in  advance.  His  fears 
vanished  at  once,  and  he  felt  that  want  at  all  events  could  never 
be  his  portion.* 

It  can  be  observed  at  no  better  place  than  this,  that  all  appli- 
cations for  relief  from  these  funds  are  known  only  to  the  respec- 
tive committees,  and  that  the  names  of  all  annuitants  are  kept 

*  Mr.  Harley,  as  master  of  the  Drury  Lane  Fund,  at  the  Annual  Dinner  of 
that  glorious  charity,  in  the  June  following  Grimaldi's  death,  thus  alluded  to  the 
assistance  which  the  benevolence  of  their  patrons  had  conferred  on  the  distin- 
guished mime: — "Yet  shall  delicacy  suffer  no  violence  in  adducing  one  example, 
for  death  has  hushed  his  cock-crowing  cachination  and  uproarious  merriment. 
The  mortal  Jupiter  of  practical  joke— the  Michael  Angelo  of  buffoonery,  who,  if 
be  was  Grim-all-day,  was  sure  to  make  you  chuckle  at  night,  he  was  rendered 


strictly  secret  during  their  lives ;  that  the  distribution  of  their 
property  is  confided  to  gentlemen  accustomed  to  act  with  the 
utmost  delicacy  and  discrimination,  and  that  some  of  the  greatest 
ornaments  of  the  English  stage  have  heen  relieved  in  their  old 
age,  when  their  powers  of  amusing  and  delighting  were  gone, — 
not  as  poor  pensioners,  or  ohjects  of  compassion,  hut  as  persons 
who,  not  forgetting  their  poor  brethren  in  their  affluence,  were 
not  themselves  forgotten,  when  unexpected  misfortune  or  sick- 
ness fell  upon  them. 

The  unfortunate  young  man  to  whom  allusion  has  been  fre- 
quently made  in  the  course  of  the  last  few  pages,  was,  as  may 
easily  be  imagined,  one  of  the  chief  sources  of  Grimaldi's  care 
and  trouble  in  his  latter  days.  After  remaining  in  his  house 
for  two  months  in  a  state  of  madness,  he  grew  better,  left  one 
night  to  attend  Sadler's  Wells,  where  he  was  engaged,  and  was 
seen  no  more  until  the  middle  of  the  following  year,  when  he 
again  presented  himself  in  a  state  of  insanity,  and  was  conveyed 
to  his  own  lodgings  and  carefully  attended.  The  next  year  he 
was  dismissed  from  Sadler's  Wells  on  account  of  his  dissolute 
conduct ;  engaged  at  Drury  Lane  with  a  salary  of  eight  pounds 
per  week,  most  favourably  received,  and  discharged  at  the  end 
of  the  first  season  for  his  profligacy  and  drunkenness. 

After  this,  he  obtained  an  engagement  for  a  month  at  the 
Pavilion  in  Whitechapel  Eoad,  but  left  that  theatre  also  in  dis- 
grace, and  fell  into  the  lowest  state  of  wretchedness  and  poverty. 
His  dress  had  fallen  to  rags,  his  feet  were  thrust  into  two  worn- 
out  slippers,  his  face  was  pale  with  ^ disease,  and  squalid  with 
dirt  and  want,  and  he  was  steeped  in  degradation.  The  man 
who  might  have  earned  with  ease,  with  comfort,  and  respecta- 
bility, from  six  to  seven  hundred  pounds  a  year,  and  have  raised 
himself  to  far  greater  gains  by  common  providence  and  care, 
was  reduced  to  such  a  dreadful  state  of  destitution  and  filth, 
that  even  his  own  parents  could  scarcely  recognise  him. 

He  was  again  received,  and  again  found  a  home  with  his  sick 
father.  At  Christmas,  1829,  he  obtained  a  situation  at  the 
Goburg,  through  the  kindness  of  Davidge,  and  there  he  remained 
until  Easter,  1830,  when  he  took  the  benefit  of  the  Insolvent 
Debtors'  Act,  to  relieve  himself  from  the  creditors  who  were 
hunting  him  down.  His  support  in  prison  and  contingent 

happy  by  your  bounty.  Yes,  sirs,  this  star  of  eccentric  brilliancy  in  the 
laughing  hemisphere  of  fun  and  drollery — this  comical  reminiscence  of  '  Me  and 
my  Neddy,'  '  Mother  Goose,'  '  Hot  Cockles,'  and  '  Tippitywitchet,'  would  have 
Bet  in  sorrow  but  for  this  institution.  You  raised  his  drooping  spirit,  borne 
down  by  domestic  calamity ;  you  sustained  his  sinking  frame,  prostrated  by 
premature  decrepitude ;  and  sheltered  him  in  honourable  retirement !  Away 
then  with  the  gloom  of  fanaticism  and  the  cant  of  hypocrisy,  obscuring  the  bright 
face  of  wit  and  genius !  This  is  true  philanthropy,  that  buries  not  its  gold  in 
ostentatious  charity,  but  builds  its  hospital  in  the  human  heart.1' 


expenses,  amounting  to  forty  pounds,  were  all  paid  by  his 

He  next  accepted  an  engagement  at  Edinburgh,  which  turned 
out  a  failure ;  and  another  at  Manchester,  at  Christmas,  1830, 
by  which  he  gained  a  few  pounds.  He  then  returned  to  the 
Coburg,  where  he  might  have  almost  permanently  remained, 
but  for  his  own  misconduct,  which  once  again  cast  him  on  the 

In  the  following  autumn,  the  son  again  presented  himself  at 
his  father's  door,  reduced  to  a  state  of  beggary  and  want  not  to 
be  described.  His  mother,  who  had  suffered  greatly  from  his 
misdeeds,  outrageous  conduct,  and  gross  and  violent  abuse,  be- 
sought his  father  not  to  receive  him,  or  aid  him  again,  remem- 
bering how  much  he  had  already  wasted  the  small  remnant  of 
his  means  only  to  minister  to  his  extravagance  and  folly.  But 
he  could  not  witness  his  helpless  and  miserable  state  without 
compassion,  and  he  was  once  more  forgiven,  once  more  became 
an  inmate  of  the  house,  and  remained  there  in  a  state  of  utter 

In  1832,  Sadler's  Wells  was  let  out  for  one  season  to  Mrs. 
Fitzwilliam  and  Mr.  W.  H.  Williams.  They  retained  Grimaldi 
for  some  little  time,  but  finding  that  he  must  be  dismissed  very 
shortly,  he  made  preparations  ibr  meeting  the  consequent  reduc- 
tion of  his  income,  by  giving  up  the  house  in  which  he  had 
lived  for  several  years,  and  taking  a  cottage  at  Woolwich,* 
whither  he  had  an  additional  inducement  to  retire,  in  the  hope 
that  change  of  air  might  prove  beneficial  to  his  wife,  who  had 
already  been  ill  for  some  time. 

They  repaired  to  their  new  house  in  the  latter  end  of  Septem- 
ber, and  in  the  beginning  of  November  the  son  received  a  letter 
from  a  brother  actor,  entreating  him  to  perform  for  a  benefit,  at 
Sadler's  Wells.  His  reception  was  so  cordial  and  his  acting  so 
good,  that  on  the  very  same  evening,  notwithstanding  all  that 
had  previously  passed,  he  was  offered  an  engagement  for  the 
ensuing  Christmas  at  the  Coburg,  and  the  next  day,  on  his 
return  to  Woolwich,  he  communicated  the  intelligence.  The 
following  day  was  his  birth-day — he  completed  his  thirtieth  year 
that  morning— and  before  it  had  passed  over,  the  then  lessee  of 

*  Grimaldi's  residence,  while  manager  of  the  Wells,  was  at  No.  8,  Exmouth« 
street,  Spa-fields :— in  a  letter,  dated  April  23,  1829,  Joe  writes—"  I  have  moved 
to  No.  23,  Garnault-place,  Spa-fields,  about  two  hundred  yards  from  where  I 
did  live."  This  residence  he  relinquished  at  Michaelmas,  1832,  and  took  a  small 
house,  No.  6,  Prospect-row,  Woolwich.  Alter  the  death  of  his  wife,  several 
letters  are  addressed  from  31,  George-street,  Woolwich ;  one  is  emphatically 
dated  "  Wednesday,  June  3rd,  1835 :  Poor  Mary's  Birth-day."  Joe  says— 
"  The  repairs  of  my  new  house  are  now  complete,  and  I  shall  very  soon  be  abla 
to  quit  where  I  am ;  next  door  but  one  to  Arthur's  is  my  future  residence." 
It  was  his  last :  the  house  he  referred  to  was  No.  33,  Southampton-street, 


the  Queen's  Theatre  waited  upon  him,  and  offered  him  an  en- 
gagement for  a  short  time  at  a  weekly  salary  of  4l.  He  agreed 
to  take  it,  and  arranged  to  begin  on  the  following  Monday, 
November  25,  in  a  part  called  Black  Ca3sar. 

It  was  sorely  against  his  father's  will  that  ^  he  went  to  fulfil 
this  engagement,  for  his  health  had  been  waning  for  some  time, 
and  he  was  fearful  that  he  might  relapse  into  his  old  habits. 
However,  he  was  determined  to  go,  and  borrowing  some  money 
of  his  father,  as  was  his  usual  wont,  he  left  Woolwich  on  the 
Sunday  morning. 

On  the  "Wednesday,  Grrimaldi  had  occasion  to  go  to  town,  and 
eagerly  embraced  it  as  an  opportunity  for  seeing  his  son,  to 
whom,  despite  all  the  anxiety  and  losses  he  had  caused  him,  he 
was  still  most  tenderly  attached.  Se  wrote  to  him,  naming 
the  friend's  house  at  which  he  would  be  found,  and  the  y9ung 
man  came.  He  looked  in  excellent  health — was  in  high  spirits, 
and  boasted  of  his  success  in  terms  which  from  all  accounts,  it 
appeared,  were  justified  by  its  extent.  Shortly  after  dinner  he 
left,  observing,  that  as  he  had  to  appear  in  the  first  scene  of  the 
first  piece,  he  had  no  time  to  lose.  His  father  never  saw  him  more. 

Gnmaldi  returned  to  Woolwich  next  day,  and  anxiously 
hoped  on  Sunday  to  see  the  misguided  man  to  dinner,  agreeably 
to  a  promise  he  had  made.  The  day  passed  away,  but  he  did 
not  come  ;  a  few  more  days  elapsed,  and  then  he  received  an 
intimation  from  a  stranger  that  his  son  was  ill.  He  immediately 
wrote  to  a  friend,  (Mr.  Glendinning  the  printer,)  requesting  him 
to  ascertain  the  nature  of  his  indisposition,  which  he  feared  was 
only  the  effect  of  some  new  intemperance,  and  if  it  should  appear 
necessary,  to  procure  him  medical  assistance.  For  two  days  he 
heard  nothing ;  but  this  did  not  alarm  him,  for  he  entertained 
no  doubt  that  his  son's  illness  would  disappear  when  the  fumes 
of  the  liquor  he  had  drunk  had  evaporated. 

On  the  llth  of  December,  a  friend  came  to  his  house  as  he 
was  sitting  by  his  wife's  bed,  to  which  she  was  confined  by 
illness,  and  when,  with  much  difficulty,  he  had  descended  to  the 
parlour,  told  him  with  great  care  and  delicacy  that  his  son  was 

In  one  instant  every  feeling  of  decrepitude  or  bodily  weakness 
left  him;  his  limbs  recovered  their  original  vigour;  all  his 
lassitude  and  debility  vanished  ;  a  difficulty  of  breathing,  under 
which  he  had  long  laboured,  disappeared,  and  starting  from  his 
seat,  he  rushed  to  his  wife's  chamber,  tearing,  without  the  least 
difficulty,  up  a  flight  of  stairs,  which,  a  quarter  of  an^  hour 
before,  it  had  taken  him  ten  minutes  to  climb.  He  hurried  to 
her  bed-side,  told  her  that  her  son  was  dead,  heard  her  first 
passionate  exclamation  of  grief,  and  falling  into  a  chair,  was 
once  again  an  enfeebled  and  crippled  old  man. 

The  remains  of  the  young  man  were  interred,  a  few  days 
^afterwards,  in  the  burial-ground  of  Whitfield's  Tabernacle,  in 


Tottenham-court-road ;  ^but  some  circumstances,  apparently  of 
a  suspicious  nature,  being  afterwards  rumoured  about,  and  it 
being  whispered  that  marks  of  blows  had  been  seen  upon  his 
head  by  those  who  laid  him  out,  an  inquest  was  holden  upon, 
the  young  man's  body.  Grimaldi  states  that  the  body  was  ex- 
humed :  from  some  passages  in  the  newspapers  of  the  day,  it 
would  appear  that  an  informal  inquest  was  held,  and  that  the 
body  was  not  disinterred.  Be  this  as  it  may,  it  was  proved 
before  the  coroner  that  his  death  had  arisen  from  the  natural 
consequences  of  a  mis- spent  life  ;  that  his  body  was  covered 
with  a  fearful  inflammation,  and  that  he  had  died  in  a  state  of 
wild  and  furious  madness,  rising  from  his  bed  and  dressing 
himself  in  stage  costume  to  act  snatches  of  the  parts  to  which  he 
had  been  most  accustomed,  and  requiring  to  be  held  down  to  die, 
by  strong  manual  force.  ^  This  closing  scene  of  his  life  took 
place  at  a  public  house  in  Pitt-street,  Tottenham-court-road, 
and  here  the  dismal  tragedy  ended. 

It  was  long  before  Grimaldi  in  any  degree  recovered  this  great 
shock ;  his  wife  never  did.  She  lingered  on  in  a  state  of  great 
suffering  for  two  years  afterwards,  until  death  happily  relieved 

He  was  now  left  alone  in  the  world ;  he  had  always  been  a 
domesticated  man,  delighting  in  nothing  more  than  in  the 
society  of  his  relations  and  friends ;  and  the  condition  of  solitary 
desolation  in  which  he  was  now  left,  nearly  drove  him  into  a 
state  of  melancholy  madness.  His  crippled  limbs  and  broken 
bodily  health  rendered  it  necessary  to  his  existence  that  he 
should  have  an  attentive  nurse,  and  occasionally  at  least  cheer- 
ful society;  finding  his  situation  wholly  insupportable,  he 
resolved  to  return  to  town,  and  wrote  to  a  friend,*  whose  wife 
was  his  only  remaining  relative,  to  procure  a  small  house  for 

*  Mr.  Arthur,  then  residing  at  35,  Southampton-street,  but  since  dead  :  hia 
•widow  and  family  have  left  the  neighbourhood.  Mrs.  Arthur  was  not  "  Gri- 
maldi's only  remaining  relation  ;"  she  was  originally  a  servant  to  Mr.  Hughes, 
Joe's  brother-in-law.  Grimaldi's  house  was  No.  33  in  the  same  street,  not 
"  next  door,"  and  his  solicitude  to  reach  town,  and  occupy  this  house,  his  last 
home,  is  the  subject  of  a  long  letter,  now  among  many  of  Joe's  autographs,  in 
the  possession  of  a  gentleman  resident  in  Highbury  Park,  Islington. 

Early  in  the  biography  of  Grimaldi,  it  will  be  remembered,  mention  is  made 
of  a  sister,  and  in  fact  she  is  noticed  as  having  made  her  dtbut  with  him  at 
Sadler's  Wells,  in  1781.  This  sister,  according  to  Decastro,  was  named  Mary, 
and  married  Signer  Grimaldi's  pupil,  Lascelles  Williamson ;  but  of  late  years 
had  been  altogether  lost  sight  of.  Joe  remembered  her  not  in  the  disposal  of 
his  effects  in  his  will ;  but  soon  after  his  death— and  the  circumstance  became 
known  through  the  newspapers — Joe's  executor  received  a  letter,  in  the  name 
of  Jane  Taylor,  which  stated  that  she  was  in  extreme  poverty ;  that  she  was 
Joe's  sister,  and  mournfuDy  asked  if  he  had  borne  her  in  mind,  and  had  be- 
queathed her  any  assistance.  The  executor  replied,  that  she  had  not  been 
mentioned  by  Grimaldi  in  any  way ;  and  the  recipients  of  what  he  possessed 
had  been  named  by  himself. 

No  further  application  followed;  and  probably  she  sleeps  too  with  her 
kindred  clay. 


him  in  his  own  neighbourhood,  where  he  too  had  lived  so  long 
and  happily.  A  neat  little  dwelling-,  next  door  to  this  friend's 
house,  in  Southampton-street,  Pentonville,  being  at  that  time 
to  let,  was  taken  and  furnished  for  him,  and  thither  he  removed 
without  more  delay.  Many  of  his  old  friends  came  from  time  to 
time  to  cheer  him  with  a  few  minutes'  conversation,  and  he 
experienced  the  warmest  and  kindest  treatment  from  his  neigh- 
bours, and  from  Mr.  Richard  Hughes,  who  bore  in  mind  his 
promise  to  his  dying  sister,  to  the  last  moment  of  Grimaldi's  life. 

He  concludes  his  Memoirs  by  taking  a  more  cheerful  view  of 
his  condition  than  could  well  have  been  expected  of  a  man 
suffering  so  much,  and  ends  in  these  words : — 

"  My  histrionic  acquaintance  frequently  favour  me  with  their 
company,  when  we  together  review  past  scenes,  and  contrast 
them  with  those  of  the  present  time.  My  esteemed  friend, 
Alfred  Bunn,  has  been  with  me  this  very  day,  and  I  expect  to 
see  my  amiable  patroness,  if  she  will  permit  me  to  call  her  so, 
Miss  Kelly,  to-morrow. 

"  In  my  solitary  hours — and  in  spite  of  all  the  kindness  of  my 
friends  I  have  many  of  them— my  thoughts  often  dwell  upon 
the  past :  and  there  is  one  circumstance  which  always  affords 
me  unmitigated  satisfaction;  it  is  simply  that  I  cannot  recol- 
lect one  single  instance  in  which  I  have  intentionally  wronged 
man,  woman,  or  child,  and  this  gives  me  great  satisfaction  and 

"  This  is  the  18th  of  December,  1836.  I  was  born  on  the  18th 
of  December,  1779,  and  consequently  have  completed  my  57th 

"  Life  is  a  game  we  are  bound  to  play — 
The  wise  enjoy  it,  fools  grow  sick  of  it; 
Losers,  we  find,  have  the  stakes  to  pay, 
l.tot  winners  may  laugh,  for  that's  the  trick  of  it. 

'*  Jfc  GrBIMAlDI." 



GHIMALDI  died  on  the  31st  of  May,  1837,  having  survived  thf 
completion  of  the  last  chapter  of  his  biography  just  five  months, 
during  which  his  health  had  considerably  improved,  although 
his  bodily  energies  and  physical  powers  had  remained  in  the 
same  state  of  hopeless  prostration.  Having  gradually  recovered 
the  effects  of  the  severe  mental  shocks  which  had  crowded  upon 
him  in  his  decline,  he  had  regained  his  habitual  serenity  and 
cheerfulness,  and  appeared  likely  to  live,  and  even  to  enjoy  life 
— incompatible  with  all  enjoyment  as  his  condition  would  seem 
to  have  been — for  many  years.  He  had  no  other  wish  than  to 
be  happy  in  the  society  of  his  old  friends ;  and  uttered  no  other 
eomplaint  than  that,  in  their  absence,  he  sometimes  found  his 
aolitude  heavy  and  irksome.  He  looked  forward  to  the  publi- 
cation of  his  manuscript  with  an  anxiety  which  it  is  impossible 
to  describe,  and  imagined  that  the  day  on  which  he  exhibited  it 
in  a  complete  form  to  his  friends,  would  be  the  proudest  of  his 

He  was  destined  never  to  experience  this  harmless  gratifica- 
tion; the  sudden  dissolution  which  deprived  him  of  it,  mercifully 
released  him  from  all  the  pains  and  sufferings  which  could  not 
fail  to  have  been,  sooner  or  later,  the  attendants  upon  that  state 
of  death  in  life  to  which  he  had  been  untimely  reduced. 

It  had  been  Grimaldi's  habit  for  some  time  previous  to  his 
death,  to  spend  a  portion  of  each  evening  at  a  tavern  hard  by, 
where  the  society  of  a  few  respectable  persons,  resident  in  the 
neighbourhood,  in  some  measure  compensated  him  for  the  many 
long  hours  he  spent  by  his  lonely  fireside.  Utterly  bereft  of  the 
use  of  his  limbs,  he  used  to  be  carried  backwards  and  forwards 
(he  had  only  a  few  doors  to  go)  on  the  shoulders  of  a  man. 

On  the  night  of  his  death,*  he  was  carried  home  in  the  usual 
manner,  and  cheerfully  bidding  his  companion  good  night, 
observed  that  he  should  be  ready  for  him  on  the  morrow  at  the 
customary  time.  He  had  not  long  been  in  bed,  when  his  house- 
keeper fancying  she  heard  a  noise  in  his  room,  hurried  down, 

*  Grimaldi  for  some  months  previous  to  his  death  frequented  the  coffee-room  ot 
the  "  Marquis  of  Cornwallia"  Tavern  in  Southampton-street,  Pentonville.  Mr. 
George  Cook,  the  proprietor,  considering  his  infirmity,  or  loss  of  the  use  of  his 
tower  extremities,  used  to  fetch  him  on  his  back,  and  take  him  home  in  the  same 
manner.  On  the  Wednesday  evening,  May  31st,  he  was  brought  to  the  coffee- 


but  all  was  quiet :  she  went  in  again  later  in  the  night,  and 
found  him  dead.  The  body  was  cold,  for  he  had  been  dead  some 

A  coroner's  inquest  was  held  on  the  following  day.  The 
testimony  of  the  medical  gentlemen  who  had  been  promptly 
called  in,  fully  established  the  fact  that  his  death  had  arisen 
from  causes  purely  natural ;  and  the  jury  at  once  returned  a 
verdict  that  he  had  died  by  the  visitation  of  God. 

He  was  buried  on  the  ensuing  Monday,  June  the  6th,  in  the 
burying-ground  of  St.  James's  Chapel,  on  Pentonville  Hill.  In 
the  next  grave  lie  the  bones  of  his  friend,  Mr.  Charles  Dibdin, 
— so  frequently  mentioned  in  these  volumes;  the  author  of 
many  of  the  pieces  in  which  he  shone  in  his  best  days,  and  of 
many  of  the  songs  with  which  he  was  wont  to  set  his  audience 
in  a  roar.* 

Any  attempted  summary  of  Grimaldi's  peculiarities  in  this 

room  by  Mr.  Cook,  and  seemed  quite  exhilarated  ;  his  conversation  and  humour 
smacking  of  the  vivacity  of  former  years  ;  and  his  anecdotes  of  the  olden  times 
and  past  events  contributed  a  fund  of  amusement  to  those  enjoying  the  con- 
viviality of  the  night.  Joe's  customary  beverage  was  a  little  Scotch  ale,  or  a 
small  quantity  of  gin  and  water,  during  the  evening.  On  the  inquest,  Joe's 
housekeeper,  Susannah  Hill,  stated  that  on  Wednesday  evening  he  complained 
to  her  of  a  tightness  of  the  chest,  and  his  appetite  seemed  not  so  good  as  usual. 
About  half-past  ten,  she  went  to  the  Marquis  of  Coriiwallis,  to  apprise  her 
master  that  it  was  time  to  return  home ;  and  assisted  him  on  to  Mr.  Cook's 
back.  Joe,  as  usual,  quite  sober,  reached  home  about  a  quarter  before  eleven  ; 
and  on  parting  said  to  Mr.  Cook,  "  God  bless  you,  my  boy,  I  shall  be  ready  for 
you  to-morrow  night  1"  His  housekeeper  assisted  Grimaldi  to  his  bedroom, 
placed  a  light  on  his  table,  as  was  her  custom,  then  retired  to  her  bedroom. 
In  the  course  of  the  night  she  was  awakened  by  an  unusual  noise,  similar  to  loud 
snoring  in  her  master's  room.  She  rose,  went  in,  but  all  was  then  quiet,  the 
light  still  burning ;  and  she  returned  to  her  bed.  Between  five  and  six  o'clock 
in  the  morning,  having  risen,  she  went  into  Grimaldi's  room,  and  on  approaching 
the  bed  was  shocked  on  discovering  her  master  a  corpse.  She  ran  for  Mr. 
Fennill,  a  suryeonin  the  neighbourhood,  who  immediately  attended;  pronounced 
him  quite  dead ;  said  that  he  had  been  so  some  hours ;  and  that  his  death  he 
had  no  doubt  arose  from  natural  causes.  The  inquest  held  at  the  Marquis  of 
Cornwallis  declared  their  verdict,  "Died  by  the  visitation  of  God." 

Joe  was  consigned  to  his  last  home  at  one  o'clock  in  the  afternoon  of  Monday, 
June  5th :  the  funeral  was  strictly  private  and  simply  plain — a  hearse  and  two 
mourning  coaches,  in  which  were  Mr.  Richard  Hughes,  Mr.  Dixon,  Mr.  Arthur, 
Mr.  Dayus,  Treasurer  of  Sadler's  Wells ;  Mr.  Norman,  Mr,  Wells,  of  the  Sir 
Hugh  Myddleton's  Head  Tavern,  Mr.  Lawrence,  Treasurer  of  the  Surrey 
Theatre,  and  three  other  private  friends.  So  little  was  the  interment  expected 
BO  soon,  that  but  one  or  two  of  his  professional  friends  were  present,  and  a  few 
casual  spectators  were  all  who  witnessed  his  funeral. 

*  The  following  inscription  is  on  his  grave-stone  : — 

TO     THE     MEMOBT     OF 



MAT  31st,  1837, 



place  would  be  an  impertinence.  There  are  many  who  re- 
member him,  and  they  need  not  be  told  how  rich  his  humour 
was :  to  those  who  do  not  recollect  him  in  his  great  days,  it 
would  be  impossible  to  convey  any  adequate  idea  of  his  extraor- 
dinary performances.  There  are  no  standards  to  compare  him 
with,  or  models  to  judge  him  by ;  all  his  excellences  were  his 
own,  and  there  are  none  resembling  them  among  the  pantomime 
actors  of  the  present  day. 

This  is  not  said  with  any  view  of  depreciating  the  abilities  of 
the  many  clever  actors  we  have  in  this  peculiar  department. 
Among  a  variety  of  others,  Smith  and  Payne  of  Covent  CKtrden, 
(not  of  Lombard- street),  and  Wieland,  of  Drury  Lane,  may  be 
mentioned  as  possessing  grotesque  humour  of  no  ordinary  kind ; 
while  for  mere  feats  of  tumbling  dexterity,  Brown,  King,  and 
Gibson  of  the  Adelphi,  perhaps  stand  unrivalled.  It  is  no  dis- 
paragement to  all  or  any  of  these  actors  of  pantomime,  to  say, 
that  the  genuine  droll,  the  grimacing,  filching,  irresistible  clown 
left  the  stage  with  Grimaldi,  and  though  often  heard  of,  has 
never  since  been  seen.* 

In  private,  Grimaldi  was  a  general  favourite,  not  only  among 
his  equals,  but  with  his  superiors  and  inferiors.  That  he  was  a 
man  of  the  kindest  heart,  and  the  most  child-like  simplicity, 
nobody  who  has  ^  read  the  foregoing  pages  can  for  a  moment 
doubt.  He  was  innocent  of  all  caution  in  worldly  matters,  and 
has  been  known,  on  the  seller's  warranty,  f  to  give  forty  guineas 
for  a  gold  watch,  which,  as  it  subsequently  turned  out,  would 
have  been  dear  at  ten.  Among  many  acts  of  private  goodness 
may  be  mentioned — although  he  shrunk  from  the  slightest 
allusion  to  the  story — his  release  of  a  brother  actor  from  Lan- 
caster jail,  under  circumstances  which  showed  a  pure  benevolence 
of  heart,  and  delicacy  of  feeling,  that  would  have  done  honour 
to  aprince. 

With  far  more  temptations  to  indulge  in  the  pleasures  of  the 
table  than  most  men  encounter,  Grimaldi  was  through  life  re- 
markably temperate,  never  having  been  seen,  indeed,  in  a  state 
of  intoxication.  But  he  was  a  great  eater,  as  most  pantomime 
actors  are,  who  enjoy  good  health,  and  abstain  from  dram- 
drinking  ;  and  it  was  supposed,  at  the  time  of  his  decease,  that 

*  Tom  Matthews,  perhaps,  presents  at  this  time  the  nearest  approach. 
tThe  seller's  warranty  was  doubtless  that  of  some  Jew  money-lender,  bj 
hich  class  of  persons  he  seems  to  have  been  almost  devoured :  when  their 
pressure  became  insupportable,  or  they  pushed  their  claims  to  a  consummation 
not  too  devoutly  to  be  wished,  and  sent  a  sheriff's  officer  to  enforce  the  demand, 
Joe  was  wont  to  accompany  them  to  the  shop  of  Mr.  Crouch,  a  pawnbroker,  in 
Ray-street,  Clerkenwell,  by  whom  the  sum  was  immediately  paid.  When  the 
hour  approached  for  his  appearance  at  the  Wells,  the  messenger  belonging  to 
the  theatre,  always  knew  where  to  find  him ;  and  being  told  the  sum  required  to 
redeem  him,  Joe  would  wait  patiently  till  he  returned  and  released  him;  he 
would  then  proceed  to  delight  an  audience,  who  had  tut  a  few  minutes  before 
threatened  to  pull  the  house  down  if  he  did  not  appear. 


an  attack  of  indigestion  consequent  upon  too  hearty  a  supper 
at  too  late  an  hour  materially  hastened,  if  it  did  not  actually 
occasion,  his  death. 

Many  readers  will  ridicule  the  idea  of  a  clown  being-  a  man  of 
great  feeling  and  sensibility :  Grimaldi  was  so,  notwithstanding, 
and  suffered  most  severely  from  the  afflictions  which  befel  him. 
The  loss  of  his  wife,  to  whom  he  had  been  long  and  devotedly 
attached,  preyed  upon  his  mind  to  a  greater  or  less  extent  for 
many  years.  The  reckless  career  and  dreadful  death  of  his 
only  son  bowed  him  down  with  grief.  The  young  man's  noto- 
rious conduct  had  embittered  the  best  portion  of  his  existence  : 
and  his  sudden  death,  when  a  better  course  seemed  opening 
before  him,  had  well-nigh  terminated  his  unhappy  father's  days. 

But  although,  in  the  weakened  state  in  which  he  then  was, 
the  sad  event  preying  alike  upon  his  mind  and  body,  changed 
Grimaldi's  appearance  in  a  few  weeks  to  that  of  a  shrunken, 
imb6cile  old  man ;  and  although,  when  he  had  in  some  measure 
recovered  from  this  heavy  blow,  he  had  to  mourn  the  loss  of  his 
wife,  with  whom  he  had  lived  happily  for  more  than  thirty 
years,  he  survived  the  trials  to  which  he  had  been  exposed,  and 
lived  to  recover  his  cheerfulness  and  peace. 

Deprived  of  all  power  of  motion ;  doomed  to  bear,  at  a  time 
of  life  when  he  might  reasonably  have  looked  forward  to  many 
years  of  activity  and  exertion,  the  worst  bodily  evils  of  the  most 
helpless  old  age  ;  condemned  to  drag  out  the  remainder  of  his 
days  in  a  solitary  chamber,  when  all  those  who  make  up  the 
sum  of  home  were  cold  in  death,  his  existence  would  seem  to 
have  been  a  weary  one  indeed ;  but  he  was  patient  and  resigned 
under  all  these  trials,  and  in  time  grew  contented,  and  even 

This  strong  endurance  of  griefs  so  keen,  and  reverses  so 
poignant  may  perhaps  teach  more  strongly  than  a  hundred 
homilies,  that  there  are  no  afflictions  which  time  will  not  soften 
and  fortitude  overcome.  Let  those  who  smile  at  the  deduction 
of  so  trite  a  moral  from  the  biography  of  a  clown,  reflect,  that  the 
fewer  the  resources  of  a  man's  own  mind,  the  greater  his  merit 
in  rising  superior  to  misfortune.  Let  them  remember  too,  that 
in  this  case  the  light  and  life  of  a  brilliant  theatre  were  ex- 
changed in  an  instant  for  the  gloom  and  sadness  of  a  dull  sick- 









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